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The John Yoo Dismissal Scorecard

Johnyoo John Yoo has certainly made quite a name for himself. The question is, is it a name that should remain associated with the University of California's Boalt Hall School of Law? Yoo is a professor of law at Boalt, but he is much better known as the co-author of Department of Justice legal memoranda condoning the United States' use of torture in interrogating enemy combatants. Yoo's work has led the National Lawyers Guild to call for Boalt to dismiss him and for Yoo to be tried as a war criminal. And that call has given rise to a blogosphere debate over what Boalt should do and the bounds of academic freedom. Here is a look at how the sides line up:

For Yoo's dismissal:

  • Crooked Timber: "[T]his is not, in the end, an issue of academic freedom. ... [I]t concerns credible allegations that Yoo acted directly and deliberately ... to facilitate war crimes."
  • Alex Whalen: "Tenure and academic freedom are designed to protect ideas but that is not what this is about. This is about John Yoo's actions as a lawyer."
  • Phillip Carter: "Law schools have an obligation to do more than teach lawyers to offer legal advice without regard for the consequences of their counsel."
  • The Daily Californian: Yoo has no place among UC faculty.

Against Yoo's dismissal:

  • Leiter Reports: "Tenure, and academic freedom, would mean nothing if every professor with views deemed morally reprehensible ... could be fired."
  • Boalt Dean Christopher Edley Jr.: The protections of tenure and academic freedom "are essential to the excellence of American universities and the progress of ideas."
  • Brad Wendel: Yoo should not be fired, but "should be a marginal figure in the legal academy."
  • Sam Kamin: "I am embarrassed to have my alma mater associated with Professor Yoo's legal advice to the Bush administration. Yet I am proud of Dean Christopher Edley for coming to his colleague's defense.
  • Doug Kmiec: I concur with Dean Edley.
  • Dale Carpenter: "I can't say that the Yoo memoranda are so beyond the pale of legal competence that a university should use them or the constitutional views they express as a basis to ... fire that person once hired."

On the fence:

  • Marty Lederman. "I'm very interested in ... whether there are other steps that members of, and institutions in, the academic community ought to take."
  • Jack Balkin: Yoo violated the canons of ethics, but Berkeley should decide whether to investigate or discipline him.
  • Deborah N. Pearlstein: It is for Berkeley to decide whether Yoo violated its standards, but "not in a million years" would I pay for my kid to go there.
  • Scott Horton: Yoo deserves due process, but let's face that fact that "what he did raises not merely ethics issues, but actual criminal culpability."
  • Sandy Levinson: Trying to figure out whether Berkeley has a duty to initiate an inquiry.
  • Orin Kerr: "What makes Yoo's work so deserving of condemnation is that it settles for prevailing standards of academic legal scholarship instead of real, honest, serious doctrinal analysis."

Care to weigh in? What are your thoughts on whether Boalt should act to investigate, discipline or even dismiss John Yoo?

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on April 15, 2008 at 02:06 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)


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