President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to end the federal death penalty and eliminate mandatory minimum sentences, but some progressives say a potential pick for attorney general to carry out those reforms may not be the one to enact bold changes, Reuters reports. Sally Yates, 60, is a leading candidate for the job. She is perhaps best known for being fired from her position as acting attorney general by President Donald Trump in his first month in office when she refused to enforce his first attempt at banning travelers from Muslim-majority nations.
Her history at the Department of Justice, where President Barack Obama appointed her as deputy attorney general in 2015, and before that as Atlanta’s top federal prosecutor for about five years, make the adviser to the Biden transition team a safe pick for a role subject to confirmation by the U.S. Senate, which may still be under Republican control next year. Yates has expressed a measured approach on some criminal justice reforms, including previously voicing some support for the mandatory minimum sentences Biden wants to end. It is a position some progressives worry may not go far enough at a time of reckoning for the criminal justice system.