Sunday, December 18, 2005

The Ever-Despicable John Choon Yoo

The comment yesterday by Barry Schwartz about John C. Yoo having been Clarence Thomas’s law clerk belatedly jogged my memory: Oh yeah, that’s right…the Yoo toad is constantly on TV making pronouncements and declarations from his exalted position as an ultra-conservative far-right law professor. He not only advocates torture, unlimited powers for the president, but also was a firm supporter of the Supreme Court’s fraudulent decision that gave the 2000 election to George W. Bush. It’s easy to find out Yoo’s every move since he graduated from Harvard in 1989 and went on to Yale Law School where he graduated in 1992 and was articles editor of the Yale Law Review. He clerked for Judge Laurence H. Silberman of the U.S. Court of Appeals of the D.C. Circuit. He joined the University of California Boalt faculty in 1993. He clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas of the U.S. Supreme Court. He served as general counsel of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee from 1995-96. From 2001 to 2003, he served as a deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel at the U.S. Department of Justice, where he worked on issues involving foreign affairs, national security and the separation of powers. He’s been a visiting professor at the University of Chicago and the Free University of Amsterdam. He’s received research fellowships from the University of California, Berkeley, the Olin Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation. He’s a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. He’s received the Paul M. Bator Award for excellence in legal scholarship and teaching from the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy. He has testified before the judiciary committees of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, and has advised the State of California on constitutional issues. And this camera-loving, party-line spewing, GOP flack and propaganda agent is only in his mid-30’s. But finding out anything about John C. Yoo’s personal life other than the fact that he’s Chinese-American is nearly impossible. When Yoo was a Justice Department aide in January 2002, he wrote a legal brief claiming that fighters captured by U.S. troops in Afghanistan are not covered by the Geneva conventions. This brief convinced President Bush that al Qaeda and Taliban prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, do not qualify as prisoners of war and therefore that they have no right to lawyers or a trial. At the time, Yoo said, "I'm a conservative professor, so I'm used to people objecting to my views." John Yoo is more than just a conservative law professor. He was Co-Chair of Law Professors for Bush/Cheney in 2004. And this past Thursday we found out Yoo is the one who gave the Prez the rationale in 2001 for illegally authorizing the National Security Agency to wiretap Americans without warrants. An interesting post appeared in the “Florida Politics” blog of July 31, 2005: “What exactly was Mr. Roberts' role in Florida 2000? Maybe it's a case of collective amnesia but for nearly a week none of the current or former members of Gov. Jeb Bush's administration, and many of President Bush's former legal team, could remember the exact role U.S. Supreme Court nominee John Roberts played in the 2000 presidential recount. Even the governor (Jeb Bush), whose steel-trap memory can recite specifics on such things as a negative campaign ad that Tom Gallagher ran against him in 1994, couldn't recall much. The White House is acting as if it has something to hide: Some questioned by The Herald openly admitted they wouldn't talk about Roberts and the recount at the request of the White House. “John Choon Yoo, the University of California law professor who allegedly accompanied Roberts at a meeting with the governor in November 2000 promised to respond to Herald questions. Then, a day later, he sent this answer: "Unfortunately, I have to say no comment to these questions." Here’s what you can count on: If it is reprehensible and ugly, if it is criminal and illegal, and if it has to do with Republican politics, John Choon Yoo will be in the center of it giving legal opinions on why it is righteous and totally permissible under the Constitution.

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