At a Manhattan Institute website devoted to higher education, civil libertarian (and reason contributor) Harvey Silverglate takes a skeptical look at calls to discipline, disbar, fire, or prosecute former Justice Department attorney John Yoo, now a Berkeley law professor, for his advice regarding the president's authority to torture prisoners and otherwise flout the will of Congress and/or the Constitution. Although severely critical of Yoo's views on executive power, some of which he calls "laughable" and "ludicrous," Silverglate approaches the issue as "both a criminal defense lawyer, with a vested interest in ensuring that a fellow member of the bar is dealt with fairly, and as a frequent critic of higher education's often evident contempt for academic freedom." He argues that proving Yoo gave his legal advice in bad faith, as required for prosecution and probably for disbarment as well, would be very difficult. Silverglate also warns that an investigation by his employer could have a chilling effect on academic freedom and set a bad precedent for partisan attacks disguised as ethical policing. Such inquiries would in any case be fundamentally misguided, I think, given the impressive ability that human beings have to convince themselves that what's convenient for them (or their bosses) is also what's right.
John Yoo's vision of presidential power scares me, but so do partisan attacks on freedom of speech.