John Yoo advises Senate on the ‘faithful application’ of the Constitution.

John Yoo interrupts his defense of torture and (presumably) himself, to weigh in on the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor, concluding with this:

But conservatives should not be pleased simply because Sotomayor is not a threat to the conservative revolution in constitutional law begun under the Reagan administration. Conservatives should defend the Supreme Court as a place where cases are decided by a faithful application of the Constitution, not personal politics, backgrounds, and feelings. Republican senators will have to conduct thorough questioning in the confirmation hearings to make sure that she will not be a results-oriented voter, voting her emotions and politics rather than the law. One worrying sign is Sotomayor’s vote to uphold the affirmative action program in New Haven, CT, where the city threw out a written test for firefighter promotions when it did not pass the right number of blacks and Hispanics. Senators should ask her whether her vote in that case, which is under challenge right now in the Supreme Court (where I signed an amicus brief for the Claremont Center on Constitutional Jurisprudence), was the product of her “empathy” rather than the correct reading of the Constitution. [My emphasis.]

Since comments aren’t permitted on his post, I emailed Mr. Yoo this afternoon asking for a response to the following questions:

  • What are the criteria you use to determine if some is faithfully applying the Constitution?
  • What are the criteria you use to determine if someone is a “results-oriented voter?” Why do you use the term “vote” at all? Is this the term you normally use to refer to decisions rendered by appellate judges? Other than the case you cite, are there additional bases of which you’re aware to indicate that she will be a “results-oriented voter?”
  • When considering your advice, should Senators consider whether your authorship of the OLC ‘torture’ memoranda was the product of some emotion of yours rather than the correct reading of the Constitution? If so, which emotion of yours should they consider?

Don’t hold your breath but I’ll post any reply I receive from Mr. Yoo.

Crossposted at Oxdown Gazette.

H/t Josh Marshall at TalkingPointsMemo.

Bar complaints filed against Yoo, Bybee, Addington, Ashcroft, Gonzales, Mukasey, 6 others

Justin Blum at Bloomberg (h/t Zachary Roth at TPMMuckraker) reports that state bar complaints have been filed against twelve Bush administration lawyers involved in the authorization and sanctioning of torture by the United States of America, including two attorneys, Alberto Gonzales and John Yoo, whose disbarments I have long been advocating. [A complete list of the grieved attorneys – with links to the complaints – is included at the end of this post]. See also these reports by UPI, CNN and Scott Shane at NYT. Upon signing and filing the complaints on behalf of VotersForPeace (donate here ) and a coalition of organizations led by Velvet Revolution, attorney Kevin Zeese, Executive Director of VotersForPeace, stated in part:

Today, we filed complaints with the District of Columbia Bar and with four other states seeking the disbarment of 12 Bush-Cheney torture lawyers. These lawyers misused their license to practice law to provide legal cover for the war crime of torture. This misuse of their license requires the bar association to disbar them or the bar will become complicit in torture.

Complaints have been filed against: John Yoo, Judge Jay Bybee, and Stephen Bradbury who authored the torture memoranda. As well as attorneys who advised, counseled, consulted and supported those memoranda including Alberto Gonzales, John Ashcroft, Michael Chertoff, Alice Fisher, William Haynes II, Douglas Feith, Michael Mukasey, Timothy Flanigan, and David Addington. These detailed complaints, with over 500 pages of supporting exhibits, have been filed with the state bars in the District of Columbia, New York, California, Texas and Pennsylvania, and they seek disciplinary action and disbarment. …

This cadre of torture lawyers colluded to facilitate the abuse and torture of prisoners (detainee) that included, evidence suggests, deaths at overseas U.S. military facilities. Human Rights Watch reports 98 deaths of people in custody of the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan. Making torture even worse in this case is that it was used to try and get information to tie Saddam Hussein to al Qaeda – a relationship that did not exist – as well as information about non-existent weapons of mass destruction in order to justify the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq.

We have asked the respective state bars to revoke the licenses of these attorneys for moral turpitude. They failed to show “respect for and obedience to the law, and respect for the rights of others,” and intentionally or recklessly failed to act competently, all in violation of legal Rules of Professional Conduct. Several attorneys failed to adequately supervise the work of subordinate attorneys and forwarded shoddy legal memoranda regarding the definition of torture to the White House and Department of Defense. These lawyers further acted incompetently by advising superiors to approve interrogation techniques that were in violation of U.S. and international law. They failed to support or uphold the U.S. Constitution, and the laws of the United States, and to maintain the respect due to the courts of justice and judicial officers, all in violation state bar rules.

Torture is illegal under United States and international law. It is illegal under the U.S. Constitution, domestic law and international treaties to which the United States is a party.

* * *

The torture memoranda did not provide objective legal advice to government decision-makers, but instead twisted the state of the law so that it was unrecognizable. They were so inaccurate that these memoranda are more justifications about what the authors and the intended recipients wanted the law to be, rather than assessments of what the law actually is.

* * *

We decided to take action today because the federal government seems unable and unwilling to act. The Department of Justice’s Office of Professional Responsibility has taken nearly five years to complete its report, as some of the memoranda at issue became public in June 2004. Further, this OPR investigation is focused only on two lawyers, John Yoo and Jay Bybee rather than all those involved. This inexcusable delay is unfair to the public because the consequences of any wrongdoing are diminished. The delay has already benefited the two men under investigation, John Yoo now has tenure at Berkeley law school and Jay Bybee now has a lifetime appointment as a federal court of appeals judge. If OPR had completed its duties in a timely manner it is unlikely that either appointment would have been made.

In addition to inaction by OPR, the Congress where select Members were briefed 40 times by the CIA, seems unable to take action because of fear of its own complicity being exposed. And, Attorney General Eric Holder, has now testified that he approved renditions – which results in prisoners being tortured by other countries at the behest of the United States – during the Clinton administration. And, sadly, the President of the United States has now decided to hide evidence of war crimes by refusing to release photographic and video evidence despite a court order to do so. Finally, the administration is appointing General McChrystal to be the head of operations in Afghanistan despite being responsible for commanding Fort Nama in Iraq as well as special forces involved in torture[.]

* * *

Therefore, the people must act to face up to this issue and restore morality and Rule of Law to the United States. In addition to filing these complaints we are starting a campaign for disbarment, public torture hearings and for the appointment of an Independent Prosecutor. People who want to get involved are urged to go to DisbarTortureLawyers.com and VotersForPeace.us.

Only by taking torture out of politics and allowing an independent prosecutor to pursue the facts and apply the law will the United States recover from these war crimes. Application of the rule of law, beginning with disbarment, is a necessary part of the process of healing the nation.

The Velvet Revolution statement regarding the filing of the complaints adds, in part, that:

The individually tailored complaints allege that the named attorneys violated the rules of professional responsibility by advocating torture. The memos written and supported by these attorneys advocating torture have now been repudiated by the Department of Justice, the White House, the Department of Defense and other experts in the field. The recently released Senate and Red Cross reports on detainee treatment provide uncontroverted evidence that the torture techniques advocated by the attorneys were used on human beings over an extended period of time. We have also sent a letter to House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers, asking that he initiate impeachment proceeding against Jay Bybee, who is now a sitting federal judge. The evidence is clear that, during his confirmation hearings, Mr. Bybee misused the classified status of his torture memos to portray a false picture of his legal history. Several Senators have stated publicly that Mr. Bybee would not have been confirmed if they had been aware of his torture memos. The bar complaints have been signed by our board attorney, Kevin Zeese, who also directs the Campaign for Fresh Air and Clean Politics, and Voters for Peace.

We ask other organizations to sign on to this campaign by sending an email to DisbarTortureLawyers@velvetrevolution.us. Individuals can sign on using the form below. This campaign will include a broad public relations push so we urge everyone to spread the word and for the press to contact us for comment and interviews.

You can make targeted donations to this campaign at with an earmark comment in the box at http://www.velvetrevolution.us/donate.php.

The complaints were filed against the following attorneys:

Links to the complaints can also be found at Velvet Revolution here, where you will find a Sign On Form to add your name to the campaign as well as links to the exhibits attached to the complaints, the released torture memos and other information.

Updated 05-19-09 to correctly identify William James Haynes II (instead of Michael Haynes) as one of the dirty dozen torture lawyers.  (h/t earlofhuntingdon)

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UCBerkeley Professor DeLong calls for John Yoo’s job

In this letter, UC Berkeley Professor Brad DeLong calls for UC Berkeley to fire his UC Berkeley colleague, John Yoo, concluding:

I am not an international law professor.  I am not a moral philosophy professor.  I am just an economics professor.  I am aware that my conclusions [as supported in his letter] may be wrong.  It is the fact that my conclusions may be wrong [that] has led me to dither about this matter up till [sic] now.

But with the OPR[*] report I see no choice; so I ask you, out of a concern for justice, a concern for humanity, and a concern for our reputation as a university, to dismiss Professor John Yoo from membership in our university.

I encourage Prof. DeLong to continue this effort to remove Mr. Yoo from the Berkeley staff but note that his argument would be strengthened if Mr. Yoo were first disbarred as a practicing attorney.

* The OPR report Prof. DeLong refers to is discussed here.

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E-mail to Alabama State Bar Office of Legal Counsel regarding unethical conduct of US Attorney Leura Garrett Canary

Tony McLain, General Counsel, Alabama State Bar
tony.mclain@alabar.org

Copies to:

Mr. Alex Lafayette Holtsford, Jr., President, Montgomery Bar Association
aholtsford@nixholtsford.com

Sam Partridge, Assistant General Counsel, Alabama State Bar
sam.partridge@alabar.org

Robert E. Lusk, Jr., Assistant General Counsel, Alabama State Bar
robert.lusk@alabar.org

Jeremy W. McIntire, Assistant General Counsel, Alabama State Bar
jeremy.mcintire@alabar.org

John Mark White, President, Alabama State Bar
mwhite@whitearnolddowd.com

Thomas James Methvin, President-Elect, Alabama State Bar
tom.methvin@beasleyallen.com

Pamela Harnest Bucy, Vice President, Alabama State Bar
pbucy@law.ua.edu

Keith Byrne Norman, Secretary, Alabama State Bar
keith.norman@alabar.org

Samuel Neil Crosby, Past President, Alabama State Bar
snc@sgclaw.com

Walter Edgar McGowan, Executive Council, Alabama State Bar
wem@glsmgn.com

Maibeth Jernigan Porter, Executive Council, Alabama State Bar
mporter@maynardcooper.com

Richard J. R. Raleigh, Jr., Executive Council, Alabama State Bar
rraleigh@wilmerlee.com

Hon. Leura Garrett Canary, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama
leura.canary@usdoj.gov

Dear Mr. McLain,

I have been researching the conduct of various attorneys in the service of the government of the United States, whether that conduct is a violation of the rules of professional conduct with which each such attorney must comply and authoring factual allegations of the conduct of these attorneys that establish violations of the applicable rules of professional responsibility, including Alberto Gonzales, Kyle Sampson, Harriet Miers, Lisa Murkowski, John Yoo, Mark Everett Fuller, Monica Marie Goodling, Thomas W. Hartmann, Michael J. Elston, Patrick J. Rogers and, now, United States Attorney Leura Garrett Canary. Her claimed recusal from the prosecution of former Gov. Don Siegelman was and remains a sham and violates several of the rules of professional conduct of Alabama. These actions raise a substantial question as to her honesty, trustworthiness and fitness as a lawyer.

Mrs. Canary’s unethical conduct tarnishes the reputation of each member of the Alabama State Bar, including – if not especially – your own. Only a good faith investigation of Mrs. Canary by the Alabama State Bar Office of General Counsel and referral, if and when appropriate, to the Alabama State Bar Disciplinary Committee to answer for her violations of the Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct will undo the damage she has done to the legal profession in Alabama. If the reputations of the Department of Justice and the Alabama State Bar are ever to be salvaged, Mrs. Canary must be investigated by the Alabama State Bar Office of Legal Counsel and referred to the Alabama State Bar Disciplinary Committee to answer for her violations of the Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct.

Although not a formal complaint, the documentation of Ms. Canary’s conduct that I have prepared and included below* (and posted here at The Grievance Project and here at Firedoglake’s Oxdown Gazette) establish prima facie violations of the Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct. Pursuant to Rule 3(c) of the Alabama Rules of Disciplinary Procedure which permits you, as General Counsel, to initiate a disciplinary investigation or proceeding upon your “own motion in light of information received or acquired from any source[,]” it is incumbent on you to exercise your authority.

E.M./The Grievance Project

*I did not include the documentation in this post that I sent in the e-mail. It is posted here .

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E-mail to Michael J. Elston

Michael J. Elston
McGuire Woods, LLP
Washington Square, 1050 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., Suite 1200
Washington, District of Columbia 20036-5317
Telephone: 202-857-1700
Fax: 202-857-1737
melston@mcguirewoods.com

Dear Mr. Elston,

I have been researching the conduct of various attorneys in the service of the government of the United States, whether that conduct is a violation of the rules of professional conduct with which each such attorney must comply and authoring factual allegations of conduct that establish violations of the applicable rules of professional responsibility, including Alberto Gonzales, Kyle Sampson, Harriet Miers, Lisa Murkowski, John Yoo, Mark Everett Fuller, Monica Marie Goodling, Thomas W. Hartmann and, now, yourself. In addition to the allegations in the complaint recently filed against you in Virginia by CREW, your conduct in the firing of the United States Attorneys also violated several of the rules of professional conduct of the Illinois, Kansas, Missouri and Virginia Bars. These actions also raise a substantial question as to your honesty, trustworthiness and fitness as a lawyer.

I’m interested in your response to the criticisms that your conduct in your handling of both the firing of the United States Attorneys and hiring practices at DoJ violated your ethical obligations as a member of the Illinois, Kansas, Missouri and Virginia Bars.

E.M./The Grievance Project

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Update: E-mail to Professor John Yoo

Professor John C. Yoo
U.S. District Court Judge
jyoo@law.berkeley.edu

Dear Professor Yoo:

I previously sent this e-mail back in April of this year, but, unfortunately, left out the ‘j’ so I sent it to y-o-o @ law.berkeley.edu. I noticed this error today after reading your op-ed, Supreme Court grabbed more power in recent term, in The Philadelphia Enquirer, which included your correct e-mail address and am, therefore, resending this previous e-mail:

I have been researching the conduct of various attorneys in the service of the government of the United States, whether that conduct is a violation of the rules of professional conduct with which each such attorney must comply and authoring factual allegations of conduct that establish violations of the applicable rules of professional responsibility, including Alberto Gonzales, Kyle D. Sampson, Harriet E. Miers and yourself. In my opinion, you have committed numerous violations of the rules of professional conduct of Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., that raise a substantial question as to your honesty, trustworthiness and fitness as a lawyer.

I’m interested in your response to the criticisms that your conduct in your handling of the Torture Memos violated the Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. Rules of Professional Conduct.

E.M.

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Sen. Murkowski’s ‘reply’ to my web-mail

Yesterday, I sent a web-mail to Sen. Murkowski in which I requested her to reply to my allegations that she engaged in conduct that raise a substantial question as to her honesty, trustworthiness and fitness as a lawyer. Today, I received the following ‘reply’ from Sen. Murkowski:

Thank you for contacting my office. I will be mailing a response to Alaskans that have contacted me via e-mail. Due to the large volume of correspondence that I receive, I regret that I am only able to respond to their concerns directly. If you are not Alaskan, I encourage you to contact your representatives with your comments and/or concerns so that they may respond. Again, thank you for contacting me. – U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski

Although typical of the reply forms I’ve received from other United States Senators and Representatives, at least it’s a reply. I’ve still received nothing from Kyle Sampson, Harriet E. Miers (although someone from her personal attorney’s law firm stopped by TGP), Judge Mark Everett Fuller or John Yoo, who each received an e-mail from me regarding their own ethical lapses.

Update:  Interestingly, I received Sen. Murkowski’s auto-reply at 1:03 EST, which is only one minute after someone from senate.gov stopped by TGP:

Domain Name senate.gov ? (U.S. Government)
IP Address 156.33.3.# (U.S. Senate Sergeant at Arms)
ISP U.S. Senate Sergeant at Arms
Location
Continent : North America
Country : United States (Facts)
State : District of Columbia
City : Washington
Lat/Long : 38.9097, -77.0231 (Map)
Language unknown
Operating System Microsoft WinXP
Browser Firefox
Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.8.1.16) Gecko/20080702 Firefox/2.0.0.16
Javascript disabled
Time of Visit Aug 11 2008 1:02:02 pm
Last Page View Aug 11 2008 1:02:02 pm
Visit Length 0 seconds
Page Views 1
Referring URL unknown
Visit Entry Page http://grievanceproj…rkowski//MESSAGEBODY
Visit Exit Page http://grievanceproj…rkowski//MESSAGEBODY
Out Click
Time Zone unknown
Visitor’s Time Unknown
Visit Number 2,950

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