Will Justice Seek John Yoo’s Disbarment?

180px-john-yooThere is growing speculation that the Office of Professional Responsibility will recommend the disbarment of Professor John Yoo who currently teaches at Berkeley law school. The release of new memoranda from the Justice Department has increased calls for disciplinary action. The memoranda concludes that the President can (1) use military forces domestically to deal with any individuals President Bush considers a terrorist threat, (2) suspend free press and free speech rights, (3) arrest citizens without legal process or access to the courts, and (4) a variety of other tyrannical measures. I discussed the memoranda on this segment of Countdown.

A call for disbarment by OPR would be an extraordinary act. Yoo is facing growing opposition at his law school and there is even a website committed to his removal.

What is most disturbing is the contemporary effort to avoid a criminal investigation of war crimes in favor of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. There is, of course, nothing to “reconcile.” We are not some new nation emerging from civil war or dictatorship. We are a nation of laws. Bush officials have already confirmed the acts of torture and we are obligated by treaty to prosecute such war crimes. Whether Yoo is disbar pales in comparison to the need to comply with our moral and legal obligation to prosecute any acts of torture. Otherwise, President Obama’s repeated statements of “no one being about the law” will appear a pretty cynical spin designed to give the appearance of actions while evading our collective international obligations.

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81 thoughts on “Will Justice Seek John Yoo’s Disbarment?”

  1. Thanks for your patience. The reply to Jill is pretty loopy for a law blog. LOL at myself. When feelers try to swim with thinkers… they sink!
    That’s where you ‘missed the boat’, as it were.

    Feelings inform thoughts. For instance, when confronted by the cut n’ past mentality which just resurfaced, I have one recurring thought – ‘parallel to the shore’… 😛

    It’s called ‘survival’.

  2. Former Federal LEO,

    Thanks for your patience. The reply to Jill is pretty loopy for a law blog. LOL at myself. When feelers try to swim with thinkers… they sink!

  3. Yes Buddha, and I would *not* want to change a single thing. The discussions are all interesting.

  4. lol


    That’s the beauty of this salon. The unexpected. 😀

  5. But, how does all of the this dark matter, mathematics, physics, Nigerian prince et al. help get Mr. Yoo investigated and prosecuted, if valid….

  6. Jill,

    Humans are such an infinitesimal percentage of biomass in Lady Guia’s life span. And the way we act towards each other, it’s a marvel she continues to support our development here.

  7. Mike S.

    I just got home from a very well explained talk of dark energy/matter–same, basically we know very little and that’s probably all wrong! I’ve been wondering about our shelf life as well–we better pull together or it could be ending soon for us.

  8. Jill,
    Your point about the Phoenicians illustrates what my point was. I became interested in Ancient History by watching a science show on Sunday mornings, when I was about 8, that dealt a lot with Archaeology. Much of what was scientific thought about the Phoenicians has changed radically in my lifetime. The same is true in much of science. However, even Quantum Mechanics has a long history of not being thought serious and String Theory, the current Physics vogue was first postulated in the 60’s. Atomic theory is much different from what I learned in high school, as is basic chemistry. We humans, with our limited knowledge and overweening pride think of ourselves as Masters of the Planet. We actually may just be another passing dominant species, with perhaps a shorter shelf life than most.

  9. Mike A.,

    I’ve read your work and I’m not worried about you embarrassing yourself! I look forward to hearing what you have to say. I know it will take time so I’ll just keep checking back to this thread.


    Mike S.

    I just went to a very interesting lecture on the Phoenicians last night. Basically the information we have on them will have to be redone almost from scratch. Evidently there is mostly cemetaries and looted grave goods to draw conclusions from. Neither of these leave a way, as yet, to connect living settlements to either. This research is beginning! For example, one common belief is they sacrificed their children–no real evidence for it. They found still-born and miscarried children treated in the same way as the supposedly “sacrificed” children were. We certainly have much to learn. We are a young people.

  10. I’ll pass, thanks, other than to say what I have already said
    repeatedly ‘they made it up’ – and you can quote me.

  11. Patty C and Jill: Actually, I’m hoping that Prof. Turley and some of the familiars will weigh in on it first so that I don’t totally embarrass myself. As far as quoting anything is concerned, I’ve had appellate judges lift entire paragraphs from my briefs without attribution. And there have been times when I’ve reread what I’ve had to say and secretly hoped that any quotes would absolutely omit attribution. Copyrights can definitely be a two-edged sword for amateurs.

  12. Make sure you copyright it, then she has to quote you
    – by law.

    You think I’m kidding?

  13. Hi, Jill. I haven’t finished wading through the stuff yet, but do plan to lay out my thoughts for what they’re worth as soon as I have time.

  14. Bron, Buddha,
    Thanks for the link Bron, but I’m lacking seeing the connection between Quantum Physics and Objectivism. Are they using Quantum theory as a part of their philosophy, or are certain physicists Objectivists?

    I’ve read a whole lot about Quantum Physics, but my understanding is broad-based and shallow, in the sense I get it conceptually but have a hard time following the scientific reasoning that gets there, though I’ve read about the important experiments that have given it credence. Even from a shallow perspective it has seemed to me that it posits a universe(s) where all things are possible. I was quite interested therefore in you statement:

    “It’s also probably the reason I’m a deist agnostic and not an atheist. Something unseen is at work, but we lack a frame of reference to understand little more than the results”

    “It’s Einstein’s observation that reality isn’t just determined by simple cause and effect, but that your point of observation”

    As a scientific dilettante, avid SF reader and former old tripper, my own Deism finds a basis there. As someone with more scientific acumen you have concisely stated the case for my own cosmological view. What has always confounded me as I’ve read about Physics is how the writers/Physicists generally avoid the sense that this universal connectedness could have some metaphysical implications, Gary Zhukov as one exception.

    In another interest of mine, Archaeology, you see the same reticence to speculate. The pre-supposition that Sumer, or the Egyptian Pyramids sprang up more or less spontaneously form a previous hunter/gatherer culture seems weak to me theoretically. Of course I must admit to a predilection for
    Velikovsky, Sitchin and Graham Hancock, for while there are some holes in their arguments their speculations have some ring of truth to them. The Torah, Sumerian Mythology and the Mahabharata, for instance, can easily be seen as a recounting the interaction of primitive humans with aliens. As Arthur C. Clarke contended humans viewing beings from thousands of years in the future would see them as Gods. The universe is a weird place and as knowledge grows getting weirder.

    My apologies to all for this long piece of off-topic rambling.

  15. Mike A.,

    I remember you were reading these memos and would like to read your analysis of one/all/part of one, if you have time to write it down.


    Yes, you should fear Sally!!!

  16. Bron,

    Thanks for the link. That’s a very nice summary. I’m a huge Feynman fan. In fact, “Six Easy Pieces” is on my desk right now. As evidenced by earlier posts, I hold Schroedinger and Heisenberg in high regard as well. To be honest, the “weird” world of quantum mechanics is as responsible for shaping my world view as Buddha, Jefferson, Socrates and Aristotle. It’s also probably the reason I’m a deist agnostic and not an atheist. Something unseen is at work, but we lack a frame of reference to understand little more than the results, the edges of the effects, but we’ll never be able to understand the “reason”. It’s a mystery. It’s Aristotle’s Prime Mover. Just beneath the surface lies a different world. To paraphrase that old chestnut of the Bard, “Reality is not only stranger than you imagine, it’s stranger than you can imagine.” There is a mystery at the heart of reality, one we cannot hope to fully understand or explain while bound by the constraints of the physical universe. We have no proper frame of reference. Even if you are uncomfortable with quantum mechanics, as many are, the most important part of relativity isn’t E=mc^2 (although that’s REALLY important). It’s Einstein’s observation that reality isn’t just determined by simple cause and effect, but that your point of observation – your baseline for reference – is just as important. See his experiments regarding Doppler shift for simple examples. Me and a friend once got kicked out of a bar for arguing which was more important – the energy/mass equivalence or reality is related to point of observation. Damn shame too as it was a microbrewery that makes a fine full-bodies ale. But even Albert rebelled at quantum mechanics and the uncertainty principle although he was directly responsible for the creation of quantum mechanics. The idea that mere observation can change outcome, not just influence the observation? He was too much a creature of Newton despite his incredible advancements to accept that God does indeed play dice with the universe. Albert liked determinism. Werner Heisenberg knew it though. Uncertainty rules and he could prove it. To some, that may be a source of fear – the unknowable, the random. Mysterious ways indeed. I think it’s the difference between a world of finite probabilities and a world of infinite possibilities. To me, that’s nothing to fear. That’s a thing of beauty. And to quote Albert himself, “My sense of God is my sense of wonder at the universe.”

  17. Buddha:

    they have been talking like that since October and most are very upset that Bush started the bailout as I am. They also for the most part do not like Bush or his policies.

    I have lost a little faith in my objectivist buddies though because a good many are very dogmatic, its Ayn’s way or the highway. And they put a good deal of faith in the “intellectual” leaders of the movement and their pronouncements. One in particular which has made me adjust my thinking is TEW. It made me laugh when I first heard about it a couple of weeks ago. That it was seriously discussed by objectivists made me question some of my prior thinking on objectivism and the people that subscribe to it.

    here is a link for anyone that wants to take a peak:


  18. David,

    I also should have used “if anyone who believes…” instead of “it you…” sometimes my grammar gets a little lazy.

  19. David,

    I think that tip thing is more social commentary then plan of action, I could be wrong though.

    I was mainly talking about the stuff listed in the TBogg link. I’ve yet to meet a business owner who cares so little about their business that they’d shut it down just because they don’t like the current president. The rest of the stories just don’t pan out, there are Good explanations why in the comments section.

    The great part about the internet is that anyone can claim to be\do anything.

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