Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates has finally joined Twitter, and her first post rocked the internet. Yates recently gained a measure of national fame preferring to be fired for doing the right thing rather than unethically defend Donald Trump’s unconstitutional Muslim ban, and later for the career prosecutor’s riveting testimony in Congress about the investigation into disgraced National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn.
Sally Yates’ first tweet shared her op-ed response “Making America scared again” which thoroughly slams current Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III’s appalling plan to restart the failed “War on Drugs” and continue the policies of mass incarceration that have torn minority communities apart.
My first tweet as a private citizen. Read my op-ed responding to AG Sessions on the need for criminal justice reform https://t.co/143F3hagva
— Sally Yates (@SallyQYates) June 24, 2017
Sessions is looking to lock up thousands of minor drug offenders even while he’s lawyering up to fight potentially serious criminal charges over his lies to Congress and false recusal from the Russia investigation.
Former AG Yates explained that AG Jeff Sessions’ decision to encourage the flooding of prisons with low-level, non-violent offenders would derail policies that saw record numbers of murderers, assaults, gun crimes and robberies prosecuted during the Obama years. She wrote in the Washington Post:
In today’s polarized world, there aren’t many issues on which Democrats and Republicans agree. So when they do, we should seize the rare opportunity to move our country forward. One such issue is criminal-justice reform, and specifically the need for sentencing reform for drug offenses.
All across the political spectrum, in red states and blue states, from Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) and the Koch brothers to Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and the American Civil Liberties Union, there is broad consensus that the “lock them all up and throw away the key” approach embodied in mandatory minimum drug sentences is counterproductive, negatively affecting our ability to assure the safety of our communities.
But last month, Attorney General Jeff Sessions rolled back the clock to the 1980s, reinstating the harsh, indiscriminate use of mandatory minimum drug sentences imposed at the height of the crack epidemic. Sessions attempted to justify his directive in a Post op-ed last weekend, stoking fear by claiming that as a result of then-Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.’s Smart on Crime policy, the United States is gripped by a rising epidemic of violent crime that can only be cured by putting more drug offenders in jail for more time.
That argument just isn’t supported by the facts.
Sally Yates has become famous for principled opposition to this Republican regime’s violations of the Constitution and felonious conduct, but we first wrote about her participation in a major victory for social justice advocates. Yates authored the Obama Administration’s decision to end the DOJ’s use of wastefully expensive and often dangerous private prisons.
Unfortunately, Trump’s racist Attorney General decided to enrich private prison companies like GeoGroup and revoke Yates’ policy.
Sally Yates spent her entire career in the US Department of Justice, diligently working her way through the civil service ranks since 1989 before becoming a US Attorney and finally getting Senate confirmation three years ago as Obama’s Deputy Attorney General.
America is lucky to have brave women like Sally Yates, who are willing to continue the fight for criminal justice reform even after their terms of public service are over.
That’s probably why the hashtag #SallyYatesisaPatriot became so popular this spring on Twitter, long before she joined the social media network last night.
— Occupy Democrats (@OccupyDemocrats) June 24, 2017
Grant Stern is the Executive Editor of Occupy Democrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report, and a senior advisor to the Democratic Coalition