John Yoo

John Yoo and Christopher Edley React to DOJ Report on Legal Memos

San Francisco Chronicle, February 23, 2010 by Debra J. Saunders

“They never actually followed the standards they’re charged with keeping,” Yoo told me—which is odd, because holding lawyers to professional standards is “all this office does.”

UC Berkeley School of Law Dean Christopher Edley Jr., who … has resisted the calls for ideological cleansing of the law-school faculty in favor of academic freedom.…said in a statement last week, “I hope these new developments will end the arguments about faculty sanctions, but we should and will continue to argue about what is right or wrong, legal or illegal in combating terrorism. That’s why we are here.”

John Yoo Defends Legal Memos

-U.S. News & World Report, February 18, 2010 by Alex Kingsbury

The American people would have thought differently about our opinions if they had known about the al Qaeda plots that were disrupted and the people who were captured, information that could only have been gathered through interrogation.

-The New York Times, February 19, 2010 by Eric Lichtblau and Scott Shane

Mr. Yoo denied that the White House or the Central Intelligence Agency, which had requested the legal opinion, had exerted any pressure on him in his legal findings. “I don’t think of them as being particularly aggressive,” Mr. Yoo said, adding, “I had never felt that anybody was pushing us in one direction or another.”

-NPR, February 23, 2010 Host Neal Conan

We had to do that job in an area where the law was written in very vague terms. The statute contained no examples of what was prohibited, interrogation methods that were close to the line. And there were very few judicial precedents, almost none at the time.

John Yoo Defends Harsh Laws Against Terrorists

-Real Clear Politics, February 7, 2010 Host Fareed Zakaria

I think, actually, a lot of the confusion in the foreign policy community, in the United States and other countries, is that for the first time we’ve confronted this kind of enemy, and we’re actually trying to develop a regime of legal rules that actually apply to them.

-The New York Times, February 10, 2010 by Adam Liptak

Allowing any sort of contributions to terrorist organizations “simply because the donor intends that they be used for ‘peaceful’ purposes directly conflicts with Congress’s determination that no quarantine can effectively isolate ‘good’ activities from the evil of terrorism.”

-The Oakland Tribune, February 11, 2010 by Elizabeth Pfeffer

Yoo’s response to accusations that he provided the Bush administration with justifications for using torture has been that he only set the limits of what would be crossing the line. That line, according to Yoo, can be interpreted differently by the president depending on national security.

-San Mateo Daily Journal, February 12, 2010 by Bill Silverfarb

“I have no problem debating people who disagree with me. That’s how you determine what is right, ultimately,” Yoo told the Daily Journal.

John Yoo Argues for Broad Presidential Power in Recent Book

-San Francisco Chronicle, January 16, 2010 by Carolyn Lochhead

“The law doesn’t compel anyone to make any policy decision,” Yoo said. “The war in Iraq was legal. That doesn’t compel the choice to go to war.”

-NPR, All Things Considered, January 19, 2010 Host Madeleine Brand

“You look at who most scholars think are our greatest presidents, men like Washington, Lincoln and FDR. These are presidents who were no shrinking violets. They embraced their power. They used their powers vigorously to attack the challenges of their day often, or sometimes, in direct conflict with the Congress and the Supreme Court. ”

-KGO AM 810, January 20, 2010 Host Gil Gross

“We were less than a year after 9/11 and the government had captured … people who really planned and executed the 9/11 attacks themselves and were responsible for planning other future Al Qaeda attacks. And the government, the CIA, came to the justice department and the White House and said, ‘What can we do that’s legal?'”

-The New York Times, January 21, 2010 by Walter Isaacson

As the United States entered a semipermanent state of national emergency, marked by multiple wars and boosts in defense spending, power naturally flowed to the presidency, Yoo writes. The cold war brought forth one of the framers’ great fears, a large standing army in peacetime.

John Yoo Argues for Broad Presidential Power in Crisis and Command

-The Washington Post, January 10, 2010 by Jack Rakove

The great lesson of this past decade of misrule has been that our system works best when all three institutions are fully engaged. However much we celebrate the heroic presidents, Americans, as a people, have a stake in seeing the whole government achieve its potential. Yet what Yoo forces us to confront is the reality of all the striking advantages the executive enjoys. It is, in its way, an enticing portrait of presidential power—and a disturbing one.

-The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, January 11, 2010 Host Jon Stewart–1

“In the end, it is still good for us to have the President able to make those good decisions, even at the cost of sometimes having Presidents who make the bad ones. It’s worth it to our system to be able to have a Lincoln or an FDR, even if the price is to have someone like a Nixon…. I think that’s part of the price we have to have in our system in order to be able to respond quickly to terrible challenges to the country.”

-Forbes, January 15, 2010 by Peter Robinson

As Yoo argues in the masterful new book he has just published, Crisis and Command: A History of Executive Power from George Washington to George W. Bush, the Founders intended the authority of the chief executive to remain flexible. “The president’s powers are meant to fluctuate,” Yoo explained, “expanding in emergencies then retracting in peacetime.”

-The Wall Street Journal, January 15, 2010 by Arthur Herman

Crisis and Command is a carefully argued historical survey of the evolution of presidential power, particularly the power to make war. The book reveals how the Bush war on terror, far from overstepping constitutional bounds, was rooted in a tradition that reaches back to George Washington himself.

John Yoo Sees No Benefit in 9/11 Trial, Only Risks

The Philadelphia Inquirer, November 22, 2009 by John Yoo

It certainly doesn’t help those who are already protected by the Bill of Rights and can be tried in civilian courts. If anything, their rights are at risk, not just by a failure to convict terrorists who killed almost 3,000 people, but by the inevitable judicial compromises that must balance the requirements of a fair public trial with the demands of protecting wartime secrets. Those compromises will no longer be limited to the special context of military courts in wartime, but will become part of the law that governs all Americans.