The ‘conscientious objector’ is a government bureaucrat who tries to undermine the president’s policies from the inside until he realizes the force is too big for him and gives up. Media outlets serve him as an example of a man who stood for right when all around him was wrong.
The Washington Post delivered one of these stories Wednesday in an account of a Justice Department lawyer of more than 20 years’ standing who quit last Friday because he could not bear the thought the administration no longer would defend a key provision of the Affordable Care Act afloat.
More than 1,000 state and federal elected positions moved from Democrat to Republican over the course of the Obama administration because of opposition to the law and Trump campaigned on repeal of the law and spent much of his first year in office trying to help Congress pass repeal legislation before finally gutting much of the bill in the tax reform legislation.
Even with an official resignation in the public record, the Post used an anonymous source in its story.
“A senior career Justice Department official has resigned in the wake of the Trump administration’s move to stop defending a key provision of the Affordable Care Act, a departure that highlights internal frustration generated by the decision, according to people familiar with the matter.”
Joel McElvain, the attorney, resigned “the morning after Attorney General Jeff Sessions notified Congress that the agency will not defend the ACA – the 2010 law known as Obamacare – against lawsuits brought by Republican-led states challenging its requirement that most Americans carry health insurance.”
Trump upset this man because he pursued policies in keeping campaign promises that were supported almost unanimously by his party.
“The Justice Department’s decision last week reversed years of legal work McElvain and the Justice Department had performed on the issue,” the Post wrote.
McElvain is a big loss, according to the Post. He was a “well-liked boss” and an “expert lawyer,” and he was honored in 2013 with the Attorney General’s award “for exceptional service defending the legislation in court.”
“Joel is just phenomenal,” a Justice Department friend told the Post. “He’s just such a terrific lawyer and a great person. It’s a lot of institutional knowledge and a great deal of experience walking out the door.’”
McElvain was in line for a big promotion to become director of the Justice Department’s federal programs branch, “which handles complex policy questions pending before the courts.”
“It is not known for its politics but for the tenacity with which its lawyers defend the law – any law – passed by Congress,” the Post reported.