Law or Politics? Now we know . . .Yoo

John Yoo has an interesting op-ed piece in the New York Times today which you can read here. The cool thing about it is that (IMHO), it reveals that his whole unitary theory of the executive (or rather Cheney et al’s that he wrote bunches of legal memos to support) had NOTHING TO DO WITH LAW. It was all politics.

Simmer down colleagues, I know that law and politics are inseperable and to claim one is not the other typically is ridiculous (I did not miss that day in graduate school). Bear with me.

This essay op-ed is about how Obama should go back to requiring a 2/3rds Senate ratification of treaties he signs because otherwise he would have too much power to do things like **gasp** abide by the Kyoto Climate Accords!! YIKES!

His whole idea is (was?) that the executive is horribly and UNCONSTUTIONALLY restrained by existing law (like, oh, getting a warrant for wire tapping or abiding by the Geneva Conventions) and here he is arguing that Obama would have too much power if he followed the custom of Presidents including the current one of trying to deal openly and honestly on the world stage.

As a constitutional law scholar, he might have an interesting argument about the constitutional process and how we actually deal with treaties (long been a problem for us), but somehow coming from John Yoo, the idea that a President (1) openly signining a document that (2) the rest of the civilized world has agreed to, (3) following the custom of many Presidents before him is somehow overstepping his executive authority is just laughable. Or nauseating. Almost makes me want to rethink the entire institution of tenure.

PS — I know the election is over, but we can reinvigorate our little blog with law again! Lots of good IL law right now.

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One Response to Law or Politics? Now we know . . .Yoo

  1. laurabethnielsen says:

    So at first, the only thing that hit me was the hypocrisy of the argument about Presidential authority. As I simmer, I also feel angry at the whole, “we are going to run the global economy but not be subjected to any kind of global checks and balance” argument. Although that one (which is, to be fair, his main one). at the same time, if I had written the torture memos, I might be frightened of an international criminal court too!

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