Commenting on John Yoo’s tenure at Berkeley, Mark Kleiman remarks: “So, strange as it seems, I’m inclined to think that John Yoo belongs in prison (along with his client) but not to think that in the absence of a conviction he ought to be stripped of tenure.”
That strikes me as a little too strange. Either Yoo’s legal advice to President George W. Bush — i.e. that he has under the constitution an unlimited right to, for example, order his subordinates to “crush the testicles of a child” — falls in that category of things reasonable people can agree to disagree about, or else it amounts to participating in the war crimes of the Bush administration. If the former, then he clearly doesn’t belong in prison. But if the latter, then how can he teach law students? The proposition, after all, isn’t that Yoo is a guy who knows something about the law and then also commits serious crimes. Rather, the proposition at hand is that what Yoo purports to have been legal advice was, as such, a crime. This seems about on a par with keeping Jack the Ripper on your medical faculty teaching people surgical techniques.