As an alumni of the University of California, Berkeley, I was saddened to learn that they employ a war criminal as a professor. John Yoo is the author of the infamous torture memos that used very poor legal theories to authorize the horrendous treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and other sites. John Yoo has even advocated the use of torture against children!
Salon columnist Glen Greenwald has written an excellent article that explains exactly what John Yoo has done, and Keith Olbermann also does a better job of explaining John Yoo's actions then I ever could:
Despite the fact that John Yoo is a well-known war criminal, and despite the fact that John Yoo's jurisprudence in justifying torture is ridiculous and unconstitutional, the University of California continues to employ John Yoo. Here is what the Dean of Berkeley School of Law (Boalt) has to say. In contrast, Georgetown University terminated their contract with Doug Feith (another war criminal) in response to student and alumni pressure.
I'm sick and tired of the continued illegal acts of the Bush administration. But there isn't much I can do about that. But one thing I can do is to not support Cal with donations while John Yoo is employed there. It's a small act, and maybe it's being petty, but I need to make some stand, even just a small one, saying that the behavior of these people in unacceptable. Because of John Yoo's continued employment at Cal, I have written the following letter to the UC Regents:
I am a proud alum of the University of California, Berkeley. For years now I have encouraged prospective students to attend Cal, and have sung its praises to coworkers and friends alike. I believe that Cal is a great university worthy of support from its alumni. However, in light of the Regents' decision to continue to employ John Yoo as a law professor, I will be unable to make any donations or provide any financial support to Cal.
While I fully respect and celebrate Cal's commitment to respecting different points of view, John Yoo's actions in defense of torture, human rights abuses, denial of habeus corpus, illegal warrantless searches, and denial of basic constitutional rights go beyond 'opinions' and 'debate' into the realm of criminal actions. The Cal I know is a place where human rights and dignities are respected. The Cal I know is a place where the rule of law is respected. John Yoo's unconstitutional actions and opinions constitute treason against the United States, and war crimes against those injured by his unlawful legal opinions. The fact that you would willingly provide a platform for such a man to continue to defend his horrific human rights abuses is simply disgraceful and make me question whether Cal still cares about human rights.
Beyond the issue of the human rights abuses enabled by his opinions, Mr. Yoo has shown that he is simply not competent as a constitutional scholar. His assertion that the President is above the law shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the separation of powers principle that our constitution was founded upon. A quick read of the landmark Supreme Court decision of Youngstown Sheet & Tube v. Sawyer clearly shows that the President is not empowered to take the sort of actions John Yoo feels are acceptable. The Youngstown decision is taught in every Constitutional Law I class and any 1L is able to understand why John Yoo is wrong in his jurisprudence. The fact that John Yoo is currently employed as a constitutional law professor at Cal makes me doubt that the University maintains the same commitment to scholarly excellence that they had while I was a student.
While I love Cal, I love America more. John Yoo's actions in defense of clearly criminal acts have disgraced America and compromised the integrity of the U.S. Constitution. The man is at best a poor constitutional scholar and at worst a war criminal. Although I respect the Regents' decisions on how to run their university, I cannot support Cal with my donations as long as I know that Mr. Yoo is employed at Boalt.
If you feel the same about Cal as I do, please help me with this letter writing campaign. Copy and print out this letter and mail it to the following addresses:
Director of Annual Giving
University of California, School of Law
You might also want to print out a copy of the landmark US Supreme Court Case Youngstown Sheet & Tube v. Sawyer (343 U.S. 579 (1952)) and mail it to Mr. Yoo, since he is apparently unaware of it.