Sally Yates has ordered the justice department not to defend the Muslim ban
The Department of Justice will not present arguments in defence of the executive order
Attorney General Sally Yates
Sally Yates, who was appointed by former US President Barack Obama, claimed she was not “convinced that the executive order is lawful".
She added: "The Department of Justice will not present arguments in defence of the executive order.”
Jeff Sessions is set to replace Yates – meaning her ruling could be short-lived.
She added: "My responsibility is to ensure that the position of the Department of Justice is not only legally defensible, but is informed by our best view of what the law is.
"I am responsible for ensuring that the positions we take in court remain consistent with this institution's solemn obligation to always seek justice and stand for what is right."
Jeff Sessions is expected to take over Yates as Attorney General in the coming days
Donald Trump asked her to remain as Attorney General until his own appointment had been fully ratified by the US Senate.
Following Yates’s announcement, Trump tweeted: “The Democrats are delaying my cabinet picks for purely political reasons. They have nothing going but to obstruct. Now have an Obama A.G.”
The President has the ability to sack the Attorney General and a full vote on Sessions’s nomination is expected later today.
Sessions, a lifelong Republican, will have the ability to override his predecessors ruling once sworn in as Attorney General.
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Yates, who was deputy Attorney General, was appointed acting Attorney General after her predecessor Loretta Lynch resigned.
A number of lawsuits have been filed in several courts states in the US. The Council on American-Islamic Relations – America’s largest Muslim civil rights group – is one party which has filed a lawsuit against Trump’s ban.