By Samantha Cooney
February 1, 2017
Samantha Cooney is the content strategy editor at TIME.

Women are leading the charge in standing up to President Trump’s executive order on immigration, which temporarily suspends visa entry from seven Muslim-majority countries and bans refugees from entering the country for 120 days.

First, a female judge stayed part of the controversial executive order nationwide, and was followed by three other female judges (and one man) who also restricted parts of the order.

Second, according to The Atlantic’s Matt Ford, the majority of lawyers volunteering at Dulles Airport outside Washington D.C. were women. And then there’s Sally Yates, the former acting attorney general who was fired after she refused to defend the controversial executive order in court because she was unsure of its legality.

Soon after Yates’ comments, the White House issued a statement that said Yates had “betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States.” Yates, who had worked in the Justice Department for nearly three decades and most recently served as deputy attorney general, was quickly branded as a hero by opponents of the executive order. Trump replaced her with Dana Boente, a man.

In a clip from Yates’ 2015 confirmation hearing for deputy attorney general making the rounds on social media, Sen. Jeff Sessions — who happens to be Trump’s pick for attorney general — prodded Yates on whether or not she would be reluctant to defy President Obama if one of his actions was unlawful. “Senator, I believe the Attorney General or the Deputy Attorney General has an obligation to follow the law and the Constitution and to give their independent legal advice to the President,” Yates responded.

The other women to stand up to the order include Judge Ann Donnelly, who serves on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Donnelly became the first judge to block part of the executive order, ruling that authorities could not deport individuals from the seven countries who had arrived in U.S. airports after the ban had gone into effect.

She was followed by Leonie Brinkema, a U.S. District judge in Virginia who ordered that immigration officials could not deport lawful permanent residents detained at Dulles Airport for at least a week; she also ordered that detainees could have access to lawyers. In Boston, Judge Allison Burroughs and Magistrate Judge Judith Dein applied a seven-day restraining order on the order, preventing authorities from detaining or deporting immigrants and refugees with valid visas or green cards. The two female judges said that immigrants were “likely to suffer irreparable harm” because of the ban.

To opponents of the Trump administration and his controversial executive order, the fact that women led the charge to limit the power of his executive order is just another sign that the so-called second sex is at the front lines of the resistance.

Write to Samantha Cooney at


You May Like