POLITICS
12/21/2014 05:21 pm ET Updated Feb 20, 2015

Obama To Nominate Sally Yates To Be Deputy Attorney General

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(Adds cases Yates has worked on as federal prosecutor, names Republicans who oppose Lynch)

By Julia Edwards

HONOLULU, Dec 21 (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to announce on Monday that U.S. Attorney Sally Yates will be his nominee for deputy attorney general, the No. 2 position at the Justice Department, a U.S. official said.

Yates, 54, currently serves as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia where she is known as a close ally of outgoing U.S. Attorney Eric Holder's Justice Department.

She is a vocal proponent of Holder's policies on lowering incarceration rates by cutting jail time for low-level drug offenders.

During her time as a federal prosecutor in Georgia, Yates led several high-profile cases, including the successful prosecution of Eric Rudolph, who bombed a building in Atlanta during the 1996 Olympics.

Some Republicans, including Senators Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and David Vitter, have threatened to hold up confirmation of the new attorney general, who would oversee Yates, over disagreements with Obama's new immigration policy.

If confirmed, Yates will replace outgoing Deputy Attorney General James Cole, who is leaving in January and has not announced future plans.

The choice of Yates signals that little may change at the Justice Department after Holder leaves the post.

Yates currently serves on Holder's advisory committee of U.S. attorneys under the leadership of Loretta Lynch, Obama's pick to be the next attorney general.

"Their very effective partnership leading the U.S. attorney community will be taken to a whole new level," said U.S. Attorney for New Jersey Paul Fishman, who previously led the committee. (Editing by Eric Walsh)

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