Law Professors

John Yoo Doesn’t Take Criticism Quietly


Former Justice Department official John Yoo is facing criticism and a lawsuit over legal memos approving harsh interrogation techniques of terrorism suspects, but that hasn’t caused him to retreat from the public eye.

Yoo, a tenured law professor at the University of California at Berkeley, is teaching courses as a visiting professor at Chapman University law school, the Washington Post reports. He is traveling across the country to refute his critics and writing opinion pieces, including one in the Wall Street Journal that called his critics’ arguments “foolhardy.” “The blaze of criticism that ignited late in the Bush administration appears to have pushed Yoo, 42, onto a far more assertive path, according to friends and lawyers who have followed his career,” the Post story says.

A Justice Department ethics report expected to be release in coming weeks could renounce Yoo’s earlier views and recommend that he be referred to his state bar for discipline, sources told the Post. Another colleague, Jay Bybee, now a federal appeals judge, could be recommended for discipline as well, the source said. Ethics experts, however, have expressed doubts about whether the lawyers could be disciplined for their legal advice. In Pennsylvania, where Yoo is licensed, there is a five-year statute of limitations for lawyer misconduct that would make an ethics inquiry unlikely, the Post says.

“Yoo is a man with little to lose,” the story says.

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