President Trump signed an executive order on Friday temporarily banning immigration from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
Some days after the ban, former acting Attorney General Sally Yates was replaced by the administration following her decision to direct the Department of Justice lawyer to not enforce the travel ban. Though the Trump administration said that Yates “betrayed the Justice Department,” Yates wrote that she did not believe the ban was legal.
Her actions were reflective of an answer she gave in her confirmation hearing years before that it was the Attorney General’s job to stand up for the law regardless of whether or not the president.
Naturally, the women of ABC’s “The View” weighed in.
Co-host Jedediah Bila compared the incident to another case of weighing legality and morality, which was immediately challenged by co-host Whoopi Goldberg.
“Advising the president is not deciding which laws you want to enforce and which ones you don’t,” Bila said. She suggested that Yates could have had a dialogue with Trump first, stating her reasons concerns of the travel ban’s legality.
On conduct as an employee, Bila said, “If you’re going to stay in that position, you’re obligated to enforce laws.” Bila otherwise warned of rogue behavior and confusion. Bila drew parallels to Kim Davis, the Pentecostal Kentucky clerk who was jailed for contempt after refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay Americans.
Goldberg said that the comparison did not stand, since the Supreme Court had already ruled in favor of gay marriage at the time Davis refused to issue the licenses.
“Here’s the legal argument as I see it,” Goldberg added. She defended Yates’ actions by saying that Yates could not determine the legality of the ban, meaning that she could not comfortably order its defense. Goldberg said that Trump should have consulted with his various advisers, as was a common criticism she had for Democratic presidential nominee and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.