Sally Yates doesn't have time for mansplaining

Source: AP
Source: AP

Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates had no problem answering whatever condescending questions came her way during Monday's Senate hearing — and she was more than happy to tell the congressmen asking them exactly why they were wrong. 

Yates made her frustration particularly apparent when Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) asked about President Donald Trump's travel ban, the executive order Yates opposed because she believed it was unconstitutional. Though her concerns turned out to be well-placed, Trump fired her in January for questioning his executive authority. 

On Monday, Kennedy pressed Yates further on these points, demanding the former acting Attorney General explain how she could possibly surmise a law's constitutionality. 

"At what point does a statute or an executive order become unconstitutional?" Kennedy asked, prompting Yates' visible confusion. "Is it some a priori determination?"

"I'm telling you what I'm getting at, and I don't mean any disrespect," Kennedy continued. "Who appointed you to the United States Supreme Court?"

Kennedy's comments weren't the last of what Yates would have to endure. Yates also went head-to-head with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) during Monday's hearing and schooled him in constitutional law.

Cruz went to lengths to break down "broad statutory authorization," the right of the president to restrict immigration as he sees appropriate. When Cruz asked if Yates agreed on the term's definition, Yates made it clear that Cruz had wasted his breath. 

"I would and I'm familiar with that," Yates replied. "I'm also familiar with an additional provision of the [Immigration and Nationality Act] that says, 'No person shall receive preference or be discriminated against in the issuance of a visa because of race, nationality or place of birth."

Congratulations, congressmen: You've played yourselves.

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Marie Solis

Marie is a Slay staff writer with focuses in culture and class. Her writing has appeared in Gothamist and the Awl. You can reach her at marie@mic.com.

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