Leahy Calls On Senators To Support Nominee Sally Yates To Fill No. 2 Position At Justice Department

WASHINGTON (Wednesday, May 13, 2015) –Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Wednesday called for the Senate to confirm Sally Yates to serve as the Deputy Attorney General of the United States.

The Deputy Attorney General is responsible for the day-to-day management of the Department of Justice, and is an essential partner to the Attorney General in safeguarding Americans. Yates was nominated to the No. 2 position at the Department in January and despite having broad bipartisan support, Republicans have stalled her nomination for months.

“Ms. Yates was voted out of the Judiciary Committee with overwhelming bipartisan support almost three weeks ago.  We are finally voting to confirm her today to serve as the second highest law enforcement officer in our country, and it is long past due.  This is the least we can do to honor law enforcement during National Police Week,” Leahy said.

Leahy praised Yates’ service as a prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia for 25 years. She was unanimously confirmed by the Senate in 2010 to serve as the U.S. Attorney in that district.  Yates is perhaps best known for her successful prosecutions of the Atlanta Olympics bomber, who pled guilty in exchange for a life sentence without parole; and for her prosecution and conviction of a former Atlanta mayor for tax evasion. 

Yates’s nomination to be Deputy Attorney General has the strong support of Georgia’s Republican Senators. At her confirmation hearing in March, Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) said “Sally Yates is an exceptionally skilled attorney with a strong record of public service and a well-qualified nominee to be Deputy Attorney General.”  Yates’s nomination also has the support of Georgia’s Republican Governor, Nathan Deal; Georgia’s Republican Attorney General, Samuel Olens; former Democratic Senator from Georgia, Sam Nunn, and a host of law enforcement and civil rights leaders. 

Leahy called on Senators to support Yates’s confirmation and ensure that Justice Department has a top leader in place.

“Sally Yates is an experienced and dedicated prosecutor with a well-deserved reputation for fairness, integrity, and toughness,” Leahy said. “She is an ideal person to serve as Deputy Attorney General, and her nomination is simply too important to be held up any longer.  The dedicated public servants at the Justice Department deserve a confirmed leader in this crucial position, and I know Sally Yates will serve with distinction as our next Deputy Attorney General of the United States.”

“It is encouraging,” Leahy added, “to see that we will continue to have individuals in the Justice Department’s leadership who understand the inequities in our criminal justice system’s sentencing practices and the consequences of mass incarceration.  As she made clear when she testified before the Judiciary Committee, sentencing reform is critical to ensure that we better allocate our limited law enforcement resources and to make our country safer.” 

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