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Not All Quiet on the John Yoo Front

My, how the blogosphere buzz over John Yoo has quieted. Just a month ago, I posted here about the debate among legal and academic bloggers over whether the co-author of Bush Administration memoranda condoning torture should be allowed to retain his professorship at the University of California's Boalt Hall School of Law. Now, there is hardly a murmur about his tenure. But not all is quiet on the John Yoo front, with two noteworthy developments this week.

First, Yoo himself speaks out once again on the issue of presidential power, asserting that the central purpose of executive power is "to respond quickly and decisively to unforeseen crises and emergencies in foreign affairs." Sounds familiar, only he is referring in this case not to President Bush, but to President Thomas Jefferson. In a Boston University Law Review article, Jefferson and Executive Power, Yoo argues that Jefferson was "a bundle of contradictions," perhaps nowhere more so than in his views on executive power. Nonetheless, Yoo contends, "Jefferson's success as Chief Executive is closely intertwined with his broad conception of presidential power." He concludes by contrasting Jefferson with his successor, James Madison, whose narrow view of presidential power, Yoo says, was his downfall.

Elsewhere, the National Lawyers Guild, which last month led the charge for Boalt to dismiss Yoo, this week issued a statement calling on Congress to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate and prosecute Yoo and others for their roles in condoning torture. Along with the statement, the NLG published a white paper setting out the legal and factual arguments for prosecuting the memo writers under international and U.S. law. NLG President Marjorie Cohn recently testified on Capitol Hill that Yoo and others were "part of a common plan to violate U.S. and international laws outlawing torture."

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on May 15, 2008 at 11:08 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)


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