March 13, 2017
When Johnathan Smith resigned from the U.S. Justice Department on Inauguration Day, he looked forward to spending time with his infant son, but that plan unraveled a week later when President Donald Trump unveiled his explosive foreign travel ban.
Within two weeks, Smith had a new job as legal director of civil rights group Muslim Advocates and was drafting briefs for a successful court challenge to the ban, joining other former top Obama administration lawyers now fighting Trump.
It is not surprising that Smith and some of his colleagues, political appointees of Democratic President Barack Obama, would leave the Justice Department now led by Republicans. What is unusual is how fast they have signed up to be Trump adversaries.
Some Republican lawyers say they were less hasty in moving into oppositional roles post-election. George Terwilliger, a senior Justice Department official under President George H.W. Bush, described the Obama lawyers’ actions as “unprecedented to my memory – and really bad form.”
This article was posted: Monday, March 13, 2017 at 10:02 am