Corruption

Yoo've Got to Be Kidding, or, First Amendment, Shmirst Amendment, This is WAR!!

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From Michael Isikoff in Newsweek, the latest on the sterling and much appreciated advice on executive power that John Yoo of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel was giving back in 2001:

In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, the Justice Department secretly gave the green light for the U.S. military to attack apartment buildings and office complexes inside the United States, deploy high-tech surveillance against U.S. citizens and potentially suspend First Amendment freedom-of-the-press rights in order to combat the terror threat, according to a memo released Monday…..

In perhaps the most surprising assertion, the Oct. 23, 2001, memo suggested the president could even suspend press freedoms if he concluded it was necessary to wage the war on terror. "First Amendment speech and press rights may also be subordinated to the overriding need to wage war successfully," Yoo wrote in the memo entitled "Authority for Use of Military Force to Combat Terrorist Activity Within the United States."

This claim was viewed as so extreme that it was essentially (and secretly) revoked—but not until October of last year, seven years after the memo was written and with barely three and a half months left in the Bush administration.

At that time, Steven Bradbury, who headed the Office of Legal Counsel throughout Bush's second term, concluded that Yoo's statements about overriding First Amendment freedoms were "unnecessary" and "overbroad and general and not sufficiently grounded in the particular circumstance of a concrete scenario," according to a memo from Bradbury also made public Monday.

Gene Healy wrote for Reason magazine on the dangers of overextending executive power back in June 2008. Lots of Reason links on the abominable Mr. Yoo here.

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  1. Um…wow.

  2. Oh my god. Fuck that guy.

    No seriously! FUCK THAT GUY!!!

  3. Brian, the constitution schmonstitution is not a death pact schmeath pact.

  4. What Taktix? said.

    In spades.

  5. Brian, the constitution schmonstitution is not a death pact schmeath pact.

  6. Brian, the constitution schmonstitution is not a death pact schmeath pact.

    Speak for thy self, sir!

  7. ……

    Ok, threadjack.

    In light of the above article, and many current events, I’d like to say that I hope anyone reading this comment has a very pleasant and joyful rest of the day. Enjoy yourselves and don’t let bullshit like this take away your love or like for being. I’m off to dinner and then to play a little guitar.

    Have a nice day. And no, there’s no snark or sarcasm in this post. Just trying to actually be positive and maybe make someone feel a bit better.

  8. Mr. Yoo should be executed without a trial. Because, you see, without the Constitution, we can do stuff like that.

    Idiot.

  9. OK, did Yoo ever say that anything was beyond the pale? Anything at all?

  10. OK, did Yoo ever say that anything was beyond the pale? Anything at all?

    I’m pretty sure he was against himself being tortured.

    That would have been beyond the pale.

  11. Somewhere in a constitution-less parallel Earth, Yoo was sterilized for being a non-white.

  12. I mean, what the hell did he think was going to happen, soccer moms uniting with al Qaeda in a mass uprising? Not only did he casually dismiss our liberties, he did it for, all told, a non-critical threat!

  13. John Yoo is one of the dumbest people ever to serve in public office. As bad as he was, he shows the danger of lawfare. Over the last 40 years, the John Yoo’s of international law generally came from the left. The over legalized war to the death of common sense. Yoo in many ways is the evil reaction to that. Once war is taken away from the practioners and becomes a question of legal argument, anything goes really. Amnisty International has an attorney that says something rediculous like any civilian casualty in a war is a war crime, I can go get John Yoo who will tell you the President can bomb apartment buildings in NY to kill terrorists.

  14. So here’s my question – how much longer until Berkeley finds some way to give Yoo his walking papers? I see he’s already ‘on leave’ and teaching elsewhere…

  15. I wonder if it ever occurred to Yoo that not everybody is as much of a coward as he and his President.

    I would truly like to see both of them get the Padilla treatment. And we might as well toss Cheney and Dumsfeld in with them.

  16. Yoo pisses me off to no end! I damn him to the Chinese Hell of Being Tortured without Due Process of Law!

    I don’t see how a U.S.-educated attorney could possibly think that the various Constitutionally protected rights and Constitutional limits on government action would simply go out the window if the military operated within the U.S. Gosh, if that’s true, then it would be perfectly Constitutional for a president to drum up an emergency, then have the military run amok within our borders. That’s so wrong as to call the man’s suitability to walk the streets into question, let alone his ability to practice law.

  17. In perhaps the most surprising assertion, the Oct. 23, 2001, memo suggested the president could even suspend press freedoms if he concluded it was necessary to wage the war on terror. “First Amendment speech and press rights may also be subordinated to the overriding need to wage war successfully,” Yoo wrote in the memo entitled “Authority for Use of Military Force to Combat Terrorist Activity Within the United States.”

    This needs to be posted in every newsroom and editor’s office in the U.S., under the headline, “The First Amendment, our next-to-last line of defense.” In anti-gun newspapers post it in English and Spanish.

    Unfortunately the reaction would be, “But Bush is gone and Our President Obama would never…”

    I damn him to the Chinese Hell of Being Tortured without Due Process of Law!

    Whereupon he wins. Far better to try him in open court with all the due process he distains, thereby illustrating the difference between tyranny and the Constitution.

  18. Guys, you’ve all been had. Yoo is actually Andy Kaufman. He never died and instead had plastic surgery, entered government service as a lawyer (which he had been studying in secret with Jerry Lawler and Bob Zmuda), and has been devising the most elaborate prank of all time.

    “Yoo”‘ve all been had! Ha! Andy is the best. This is better than Tony Clifton!

  19. I was just kidding, LarryA. Trouble is, he wasn’t.

    I agree that some people will blow off the threat by saying, “But that was evil Bush.” With no conception that there is not a person on the planet who should be trusted with the kind of power Yoo thinks the president should have.

    Just for the record, Mr. Yoo, if you think terrorists are scary, just try “suspending” our rights. Then you’ll really have something to be scared of.

  20. John–

    Make no mistake. John Yoo is anything but dumb. He’s very, very intelligent. The danger of lawfare isn’t that some stupid lawyers will make stupid decisions. It’s that very smart lawyers will make evil decisions, and, because they’re smart, will do so in a convincing way.

  21. Episiarch,

    Got me! Damn that Kaufman and his tricky ways. And I thought he was dead. Easily his greatest goof. I should’ve been tipped off by “Yoo’s” brawl with Jerry Lawler.

  22. I should’ve been tipped off by “Yoo’s” brawl with Jerry Lawler.

    When Lawler pulled that reverse Frankensteiner on him, it was classic.

  23. Yo fuck John Yoo

    preferably up the ass with a razor edge dildo, followed by a battery acid enema.

  24. Amnisty International has an attorney that says something rediculous like any civilian casualty in a war is a war crime…

    Link, please!

  25. The truly scary part of this is the number of folks I know personally that see this type thing and say, “Muslims are trying to take over the world and whatever the government needs to do to stop them is just fine with me!”

  26. just as an aside:
    “..Al-Qaeda, and organization created in 1988 by Usama bin Laden” on page 2, is rather at odds with the conventional wisdom that OBL created Al-Queda as a response to the sacrilege of US troops in Saudi Arabia during Gulf War 1.

  27. My favorite part so far is when he equates
    the indian wars with enforcing desegregation orders.

  28. There’s something that I guess I don’t understand.

    During the Cold War we went “toe to toe with the Rooskies” and IMO we won that war by showing that our ideology of open and free society was superior. I mean eyeball to eyeball with people with nukes and our strongest point was our Constitution.

    We get our nose bloodied by a handful of camel-humpers* and we’re ready to throw the whole works into the shitter?

    How’d that happen?

    *I don’t mean to minimize the tragedy but, jeez, 3000 people vs 15MT in Central Park?

    .. Hobbit

  29. this part is jaw droppping:

    “This textual difference [between Art I and Art II] are limited to the list enumerated in Art I sect 8, while the President’s powers include all [em in orginal] federal executive powers unenumerated in the Constitution”

  30. Is the sound of a round entering the chamber covered under the first amendment? Maybe that’s the second. Bah, who cares we don’t need those damn rights things anyway, inherent or not.

    Berkley Law Professor. Go figure.

    I’d have to agree with the, “FUCK THAT GUY!” analysis. That would make an awesome t-shirt with his image and that saying, or a PG version.

  31. That would make an awesome t-shirt with his image and that saying, or a PG version.

    “SCREW YOO”

  32. Epi,

    You win buddy. This is the first time I’ve smiled since I read this post at…

    Ohh… err… there is goes…

    Damn…

  33. Now that I’ve read the whole thing

    1) Yoo sure loves his Alex Hamiliton.

    2) His footnote citing of Duncan vs Kahanamoku to support the ‘judical branch says the president can do whatever he wants to keep order’ is weird as that cases finding was that in fact you *can’t* try a civilian who was in a bar fight at a military tribunal, even if martial law was declare.

    3) He uses a case where the guy was tried under one of the Alien and Sedition Acts (albeit in the War of 1812)

    4) His aparment hypothetical reminds me of the quip of the way the four service branches define “secure the building”

    5) I would think some of his 1st ammnedment cases were overturned in the Pentagon papers case.

    6) He has a point regarding the near plenary power that Congress granted with the immediate post 9/11 acts. Congress has got to stop doing that.

  34. He has a point regarding the near plenary power that Congress granted with the immediate post 9/11 acts. Congress has got to stop doing that.

    I agree, but don’t hold your breath on that one. How does the politician’s syllogism go?

    1. We must do something!
    2. This is something.
    3. Thus, we’ll do this!

  35. As I said in the (next) thread, I fully believe that MR. Yoo should suffer sever sub-abdominal trauma for this absolute LACK of understanding of the Constitution.

    Amazing though, that Bush the Lesser never acted upon these ill-advised notions. Hm. I MIGHT have to bend a bit and give him some props for ignoring Yoo. I think we CAN agree that the press was never even remotly stifled from criticisim the Bush Administration?

    Now, If I can get back to kicking him over the “Faith Based Initiatives,” No Child Left Behind (cat’s-ass-trophy) and the rest of the laundry list…

  36. My God imagine that! Wow can we now prosecute all those evil, facists who did the same thing like FDR who put over 200,000 Americans in concentration camps in the name of national security.

    Lets face it terrorists are people too. Let’s follow the letter of the law always. I mean would you shoot down an airliner if you knew there were innocent people on board just because terrorists had seized it and you couldn’t read them their rights? The hell with the victims on board or the soon to be victims at their target.

    The Constitution is a suicide pact right?

    Amazing that you dullards can’t understand that when the president pushes the button he doesn’t consult the Congress, the courts or lawyers nor does the Constitution specify he can initiate a thermo nuclear war. But lets not quibble about his right to incinerate hundreds of millions of people when we know the rights of terrorists are so much more vital.

    Some people have no common sense and no moral compass.

  37. Huh? What the hell are you talking about, Curious George?

    The Constitution is the supreme law of the land, the foundation upon which our country is governed. Government officials take oaths to defend the Constitution. If you don’t like what the Constitution says, there is a process to amend it. Otherwise, we have to follow it. If we don’t — if we let the chief executive officer of the country decide for himself what is and isn’t permissible — we’re living in a dictatorship, not a democratic republic.

    I will refrain from telling you what to do with your “moral compass.”

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