Horton hears a Yoo

Horton hears a Yoo

Updated April 23, 2008 to add poster art parody courtesy of the talented nonnie9999 who has many more posters at Hysterical Raisins. If I knew how, I would add this caption: … and then he rebuked him. Many thanks, Nonnie.

As Melissa from Writechic Press noted here, New York attorney and Columbia Law School professor Scott Horton ‘spanked’ Professor John C. Yoo in an Op-Ed Monday in the L.A. Times. In his Opinion column, Prof. Horton discusses the National Lawyers Guild’s campaign to have Prof. Yoo fired from his tenured position at UC Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law. While recognizing the possible chilling effect the firing would have on academia, Prof. Horton correctly dispenses with this concern:

But does academic freedom really sit at the heart of this controversy? It’s not Yoo’s ideas in an academic setting that give rise to his current problems but his conduct as a government lawyer.

And although Prof. Yoo claims that “he only advised and theorized; [and that] others took the decision to implement the program[,]” Prof. Horton explains that the facts do not support this defense:

It also appears that government lawyers had told Bush administration officials that some of the techniques already in use were illegal, even criminal. In fact, a senior Pentagon lawyer described to me exchanges he had with Yoo in which he stressed that those using the techniques could face prosecution. Yoo notes in his Pentagon memo that he communicated with the Criminal Division of the Justice Department and got assurances that prosecutions would not be brought. The question becomes, was Yoo giving his best effort at legal analysis, or was he attempting to protect the authors of the program from criminal investigation and prosecution?

In any case, Yoo kept the program running. Even the man who came in to run the Office of Legal Counsel after Yoo’s departure, Jack Goldsmith, has written that he understood Yoo’s project this way. Goldsmith also rescinded Yoo’s memos.

According to Human Rights First, more than 100 people have died in U.S. detention in the war on terrorism. It documented 11 cases where the deaths resulted from coercive interrogation techniques, and others where there was at least some connection. Yoo insists that there is no relationship between the deaths and his advice, because he didn’t set policy or carry it out, he merely offered a legal opinion. But had he refused to give the opinion that was sought, the program might have been suspended and some of those detainees might be alive. (Emphasis supplied.)

Prof. Horton charitably notes that:

It’s possible that when all the facts about their preparation and use come out, Yoo will be exonerated. But the criminal law and ethical issues surrounding his work on the memos are very serious.

But before he can be exonerated, Prof. Yoo’s conduct must be properly investigated to determine if his actions have violated the applicable rules of professional conduct. And before he can be investigated, grievances must be filed against Prof. Yoo in Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.

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11 Responses

  1. Damn Yoo, E.M. I’ve been waiting to whip that headline out. You beat me.

  2. Sorry, Mel. (Or maybe not.)

  3. I forgive you, but not Yoo.

  4. Alright, now you’re just showing off.

  5. Mel,

    I can take no credit whatsoever for the artwork: Nonnie has the talent and she did all the work. All I did was ask.

    Check her work out at Hysterical Raisins (in my blogroll).

  6. […] talking to you (not Yoo)! Kids, I want you (not Yoo) to run on over to a very good blog called the Grievance Project. My friend, E.M., unlike myself, covers very important stuff. The latest post over there is on an […]

  7. […] prosecutions don’t seem to be likely, it wouldn’t hurt to file a grievance against John Yoo with the PA or D.C. […]

  8. http://rawstory.com/news/2008/Breakins_plague_Justice_Department_whistleblowers_0430.html


    Careful – these are some very hot topics.

  9. Thanks for the link, Capt. I think this may call for another round of It’s-not-paranoia-if-the-ARE-out-to-get-you.

  10. Dude (I think), I’ve set the bar for you with today’s Yoo story: Here




    What questions can we send to Rep. Artur Davis?

  11. I wrote a new post with some thoughts and link about this.

    Why do you think ‘Dude’?

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