Monday, September 12, 2005

Yoo Gets Front Page Treatment

How many law professors get front page treatment in the Wall Street Journal? Today's WSJ profiles Prof. John Yoo of Berkeley, essentially treating him as an architect, maybe the architect of the Bush Administration's legal approach to the war on terrorism. Here are some excerpts:

Mr. Yoo is playing an instrumental role in redefining the murky area where law intersects with foreign policy. The change underpins President Bush's claim that he possesses the sort of far-reaching emergency powers exercised by past presidents during conventional wars.

...

Mr. Yoo, like others in the academic clique known as "sovereigntists," is skeptical of international law and the idea that international relations are ever based on principle, as opposed to self-interest. Mr. Yoo argues that the Constitution gives Congress limited authority to deter presidential actions in foreign affairs. The judiciary, he says, has almost none.

...

The Yoo Doctrine, as it might be called, fits with the broader Bush-administration view that pursuing American interests is best for the country and the rest of the world. Before 9/11, Mr. Yoo helped lay legal groundwork for some of the president's high-visibility withdrawals from treaties, including the antiballistic missile pact with Russia and the agreement underpinning the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands, established in 1998 to deal with the gravest international crimes.

While it is nice to get the front page treatment, I'm sure John could do without the sometimes hysterical denunciation he gets, not only from the political left, but from fellow academics and his students. On the other hand, he has a book coming out from the University of Chicago Press, so all types of publicity, I suppose, can only be a good thing.

7 Comments:

Anonymous AV said...

John Yoo is a legend. He should be appointed to the ICJ.

9/12/2005 1:17 PM  
Anonymous Charles Gittings said...

For those who don't have subscriptions to the Wall Street Journal, the article on Yoo is also available at:

Post-Gazette: John Yoo

I'm not going to address the full details here, for those see my web site.

But I do have two comments:

1) The assertion that we are observing the Geneva convenetions to the extent consistent with military necessity is utterly dishonest: it amounts to claiming that "We will obey Geneva except when we violate Geneva" -- and to understand that, all you have to do is look up the legal definition of "military necessity".

2) What Mr. Yoo and the administration are claiming boils down to the proposition that the President has the authority to imprison or kill anyone at any time for any reason without regard for any law at all. If anyone denies that, please tell me what in the law stands against it -- where is the limit?

That proposition is not merely contrary to the Constitution and the law, it is utterly insane.

Charles Gittings

cbgittings@yahoo.com

9/12/2005 1:22 PM  
Blogger Cat said...

"Mr. Yoo, like others in the academic clique known as "sovereigntists," is skeptical of international law and the idea that international relations are ever based on principle, as opposed to self-interest. Mr. Yoo argues that the Constitution gives Congress limited authority to deter presidential actions in foreign affairs. The judiciary, he says, has almost none."

The very word 'sovereignty' implies a reliance on international law. Sovereignty is not a magic shield that keeps others out of a country's business. The word itself implies a relationship that must be respected both by the country, and by other countries, in order for the concept to exist at all. Does the United States rely on international law to prove the existence of the country's sovereignty?

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