RSN Fundraising Banner
FB Share
Email This Page
add comment

We are presenting this opinion piece by former Bush administration legal advisor John Yoo, not because we endorse his comments or find merit in them but rather to keep our readers abreast of compelling current events. What we hear Yoo saying is, that for the American political-right this was a watershed moment.

An appeals court tossed out a convicted terrorist's lawsuit accusing John Yoo, who wrote the so-called 'torture memos' of authorizing illegally harsh treatment of 'enemy combatants.' (photo: Getty Images)
An appeals court tossed out a convicted terrorist's lawsuit accusing John Yoo, who wrote the so-called 'torture memos' of authorizing illegally harsh treatment of 'enemy combatants.' (photo: Getty Images)

Chief Justice Roberts and His Apologists

By John Yoo, The Wall Street Journal

06 July 12


We are presenting this opinion piece by former Bush administration legal advisor John Yoo, not because we endorse his comments or find merit in them but rather to keep our readers abreast of compelling current events. Yoo's comments underscore the seismic effect of what the American political right-wing sees as a betrayal by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. in the Affordable Health Care Act ruling. What we hear Yoo saying is, that for the American political-right this was a watershed moment.


hite House judge-pickers sometimes ask prospective nominees about their favorite Supreme Court justice. The answers can reveal a potential judge's ideological leanings without resorting to litmus tests. Republican presidential candidates similarly promise to appoint more judges like so-and-so to reassure the conservative base.

Since his appointment to the high court in 2005, the most popular answer was Chief Justice John Roberts. But that won't remain true after his ruling on Thursday in NFIB v. Sebelius, which upheld President Barack Obama's signature health-care law.

Justice Roberts served in the Reagan Justice Department and as a White House lawyer before his appointment to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and then to the Supreme Court by President George W. Bush. Yet he joined with the court's liberal wing to bless the greatest expansion of federal power in decades.

Conservatives are scrambling to salvage something from the decision of their once-great judicial hero. Some hope Sebelius covertly represents a "substantial victory," in the words of conservative columnist George Will.

After all, the reasoning goes, Justice Roberts's opinion declared that the Constitution's Commerce Clause does not authorize Congress to regulate inactivity, which would have given the federal government a blank check to regulate any and all private conduct. The court also decided that Congress unconstitutionally coerced the states by threatening to cut off all Medicaid funds if they did not expand this program as far as President Obama wants.

All this is a hollow hope. The outer limit on the Commerce Clause in Sebelius does not put any other federal law in jeopardy and is undermined by its ruling on the tax power (discussed below). The limits on congressional coercion in the case of Medicaid may apply only because the amount of federal funds at risk in that program's expansion - more than 20% of most state budgets - was so great. If Congress threatens to cut off 5%-10% to force states to obey future federal mandates, will the court strike that down too? Doubtful.

Worse still, Justice Roberts's opinion provides a constitutional road map for architects of the next great expansion of the welfare state. Congress may not be able to directly force us to buy electric cars, eat organic kale, or replace oil heaters with solar panels. But if it enforces the mandates with a financial penalty then suddenly, thanks to Justice Roberts's tortured reasoning in Sebelius, the mandate is transformed into a constitutional exercise of Congress's power to tax.

Some conservatives hope that Justice Roberts is pursuing a deeper political game. Charles Krauthammer, for one, calls his opinion "one of the great constitutional finesses of all time" by upholding the law on the narrowest grounds possible - thus doing the least damage to the Constitution - while turning aside the Democratic Party's partisan attacks on the court.

The comparison here is to Marbury v. Madison (1803), where Chief Justice John Marshall deflected President Thomas Jefferson's similar assault on judicial independence. Of the Federalist Party, which he had defeated in 1800, Jefferson declared: "They have retired into the judiciary as a stronghold. There the remains of federalism are to be preserved and fed from the treasury, and from that battery all the works of republicanism are to be beaten down and erased." Jeffersonians in Congress responded by eliminating federal judgeships, and also by impeaching a lower court judge and a Supreme Court judge.

In Marbury, Justice Marshall struck down section 13 of the Judiciary Act of 1789, thus depriving his own court of the power to hear a case against Secretary of State James Madison. Marbury effectively declared that the court would not stand in the way of the new president or his congressional majorities. So Jefferson won a short-term political battle - but Justice Marshall won the war by securing for the Supreme Court the power to declare federal laws unconstitutional.

While some conservatives may think Justice Roberts was following in Justice Marshall's giant footsteps, the more apt comparison is to the Republican Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes. Hughes's court struck down the centerpieces of President Franklin Roosevelt's early New Deal because they extended the Commerce Clause power beyond interstate trade to intrastate manufacturing and production. Other decisions blocked Congress's attempt to delegate its legislative powers to federal agencies.

FDR reacted furiously. He publicly declared: "We have been relegated to a horse-and-buggy definition of interstate commerce." After winning a resounding landslide in the 1936 elections, he responded in February 1937 with the greatest attack on the courts in American history. His notorious court-packing plan proposed to add six new justices to the Supreme Court's nine members, with the obvious aim of overturning the court's opposition to the New Deal.

After the president's plan was announced, Hughes and Justice Owen J. Roberts began to switch their positions. They would vote to uphold the National Labor Relations Act, minimum-wage and maximum-hour laws, and the rest of the New Deal.

But Hughes sacrificed fidelity to the Constitution's original meaning in order to repel an attack on the court. Like Justice Roberts, Hughes blessed the modern welfare state's expansive powers and unaccountable bureaucracies - the very foundations for ObamaCare.

Hughes's great constitutional mistake was made for nothing. While many historians and constitutional scholars have referred to his abrupt and unprincipled about-face as "the switch in time that saved nine," the court-packing plan was wildly unpopular right from the start. It went nowhere in the heavily Democratic Congress. Moreover, further New Deal initiatives stalled in Congress after the congressional elections in 1938.

Justice Roberts too may have sacrificed the Constitution's last remaining limits on federal power for very little - a little peace and quiet from attacks during a presidential election year.

Given the advancing age of several of the justices, an Obama second term may see the appointment of up to three new Supreme Court members. A new, solidified liberal majority will easily discard Sebelius's limits on the Commerce Clause and expand the taxing power even further. After the Hughes court switch, FDR replaced retiring Justices with a pro-New Deal majority, and the court upheld any and all expansions of federal power over the economy and society. The court did not overturn a piece of legislation under the Commerce Clause for 60 years.

If a Republican is elected president, he will have to be more careful than the last. When he asks nominees the usual question about justices they agree with, the better answer should once again be Scalia or Thomas or Alito, not Roberts.

Mr. Yoo, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley School of Law who served in the Bush Justice Department, is the author of "Taming Globalization" (Oxford University Press, 2012). your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+89 # namewon 2012-07-06 11:08
I never thought I would read an opinion by John Yoo that would give me pleasure! Not that I'm a big fan of "Obamacare," but it's certainly better than the current system or any Republican plan, if there really were one. In my own view, what would be best, of course, is Medicare for all. Maybe some day that can become a reality, but there would not even be that hope if the Court had struck down the mandate.
+74 # NanFan 2012-07-06 17:21
Yada yada Yoo!

And why isn't Yoo in jail instead of teaching at Berkeley and writing for the Wall Street Journal?

+35 # Stephanie Remington 2012-07-06 18:04
+14 # Michael_K 2012-07-07 15:59
Quoting NanFan:
Yada yada Yoo!

And why isn't Yoo in jail instead of teaching at Berkeley and writing for the Wall Street Journal?


Exactly! Why is this buffoon allowed the freedom to continue his psychotic babbling?
+1 # Michael Lee Bugg 2012-07-09 13:39
Amen! Yoo should be sharing a cell in Gitmo with Bush, Cheney, Rice, and Rumsfeld! Bush used Yoo and only him to rubber-stamp whatever Bush's bosses wanted done as if only Yoo's opinion mattered and all other Constitutional lawyers and judges didn't matter. It takes extreme arrogance to be so cock sure, but that is the Hallmark of today's neoconservative s, otherwise known as Fascists.
+3 # kbarrand 2012-07-07 17:13
Actually I had hoped that if the mandate was turned down, that might reopen the universal, or at least public option, debate. In any rate, giving the states the ability to opt out of the Medicare provisions of the act will cause many to remain uninsured. Our work is not done.
+5 # Hexalpa 2012-07-07 17:46
Quoting kbarrand:
Actually I had hoped that if the mandate was turned down, that might reopen the universal, or at least public option, debate. In any rate, giving the states the ability to opt out of the Medicare provisions of the act will cause many to remain uninsured. Our work is not done.
But the "Upside" of any individual State "opting out" is that the probability that voters who have been denied Medicaid coverage because of their Governor's decision... that those voters will turn their governor out-of-office.. . that probability is greatly increased.
+1 # kbarrand 2012-07-08 06:51
Agreed. That IS the upside.
+5 # X Dane 2012-07-07 22:39
The Affordable Care Act...aka Obamacare...
IS a republican plan. It was written as a counter to Clinton's health care plan, in the middle nineties. by the Heritage Foundation, Super conservative.
But as they have done NON STOP. The republicans oppose EVERYTHING Obama is FOR.
+1 # mdhome 2012-07-08 08:40
I think we need for Obama to come out for breathing, surely that would make the republicants to stop breathing.
+111 # jimbo 2012-07-06 11:09
After all the damage yoo has done to this country only the most deranged right winger will take this seriously. IMO scalia, thomas and alito are pawns owned and managed by their fascist masters with money, bringing us citizens united which sole power is to bring the fascists into power. That yoo sides with these is sickening yet inevitable. Get a clue yoo.
+9 # kbarrand 2012-07-07 17:17
It's all a continuation of the plan started by DeLay, Abramoff. Norqvist, Bauer, et al to create a permanent Republican majority. And they are frighteningly close to achieving that end.
+103 # CAMUS1111 2012-07-06 11:12
Yoo vs. Roberts--I love it. This is almost like the SS claiming the Gestapo (or vice-versa) wasn't extremist enough...
+61 # Onterryo 2012-07-06 11:51
To me the mention of Yoo makes me think of Voldemort in the Harry Potter series, i.e. "He-Who-Must-No t-Be-Named". I just want to forget him or charge him -preferably the last! How anyone could twist international and American law to justify torture is beyond me. His answer of Scalia or Thomas to "the question" is repugnant. Both of them already know the answer for any issue and then find selective material to buttress their right-wing leanings rather than look at the all of the material to properly interpret the Constitution and the intent of the Founders.
+117 # Gizmo 2012-07-06 11:57
Yoo ought to be in an orange jump suit in front of a tribunal at The Hague.
+75 # Terrapin 2012-07-06 12:39
I would like to add that the formerly great University of California at Berkeley proudly keeps a professor tenured and on the payroll that, by the standards of the Nuremberg War Tribunal, would have been hung by the neck until DEAD.
Please also remember that in comparison a couple of professors at Harvard were dismissed for "the Crime" of getting students loaded. But authorizing WAR CRIMES is NOT a reason for dismissal.
+40 # Diane 2012-07-06 14:54
It just goes to show how unbelievably low we have placed the bar for those who decide policy in our country. On Yoo, the bar was so low we couldn't find it in order to trip over it. What he did, though, to harm this country was not all his fault. As Thoreau noted: "It takes two to speak the truth - one to speak, and another to hear". Perhaps substituting the phrase "an untruth" for "the truth" better explains how we got to this point - our own complicity.
+39 # Richard Raznikov 2012-07-06 20:50
As a graduate of the U.C. Berkeley School of Law, Class of 1972, I've been approached for alumni donations many times. My answer is that the retention of this war criminal and sociopath on the faculty is not just a disgrace to the University but also to the student body; when I was at Cal, we would have run that disgusting creep out of town or closed the school down, take your pick. We never would have given him a moment's peace. How pathetic that Berkeley and its student body accepts such a horrible human being in their midst.
+19 # futhark 2012-07-06 21:26
I'm a University of California, Berkeley alumnus, class of 1972, who is also ashamed and disgusted that John Yoo, a man who has used his intelligence and position to betray the ideals of the American Revolution, should enjoy a tenured position on the faculty.

Is the University still wondering why alumni donations are down?
-7 # Regina 2012-07-06 22:50
Yoo has a right to his opinions and the right to speak them. As a general trend, many of us have the mental fortitude to dismiss them as warped. Academic freedom means that he has the right to teach his views of his chosen subject, for which he is academically qualified and therefore tenured. Students have the right to avoid his classes, if they so wish. Should he be assigned to a course that is required of all candidates for the degree they're enrolled for, the chances are that there will be several sections of the course in any term and students can choose to avoid his, if they so wish. Yoo's positions on political issues, including those technically legal or judicial, do not constitute moral turpitude (getting students "loaded" does). Thus there is no professionally tenable basis for discharging him.
+21 # Terrapin 2012-07-07 09:18
Regina ... Legally justifying TORTURE, the systematic physical, psychological destruction of a human being to the point of death, does NOT rise to the level of Moral Turpitude?
But ingesting psychedelics does?

Perhaps a reality check is in order ...
+2 # Regina 2012-07-07 12:20
Terrapin: Get Yoo arrested, tried, and convicted -- then he can justly and legitimately be terminated from his professorship.
+5 # tm7devils 2012-07-07 18:16
I would think that the university regents would have the power to get rid of a professor on grounds of 'moral turpitude'...
Er,...that is...unless there is Moral Turpitude 401 in the en who would be better to teach the class??
+14 # Richard Raznikov 2012-07-07 11:44
Regina, providing the legal foundation for brutality is a serious human and criminal offense. Those who did so for the Nazis were adjudged war criminals at Nuremberg and rightly so. He violated international laws and the most basic precepts of decent human conduct.

It would be hard to imagine a more morally corrupt person than John Yoo. He belongs in prison in any just society. That he would continue to teach law is an obscenity. That the New York Times would publish his drivel is alarming. That you or anyone would equate his advocacy of torture with academic freedom is incomprehensibl e.

By the way, the behavior of Leary and Richard Alpert at Harvard involved consenting adults, not children, and they did not offer a moral basis for the crushing of a child's testicles as Yoo did. You might want to re-evaluate your judgment.
+3 # Regina 2012-07-07 12:17
Thanks, Richard, for enlarging my outlook on Yoo. I think I am still technically correct on academic freedom -- if Yoo has committed crimes he should be prosecuted for them. If he is convicted, that would certainly be grounds for firing him from his academic position. We must still guard against firing faculty members for political beliefs.
+9 # X Dane 2012-07-07 22:59
We don't detest and despise him for his political beliefs, but for his criminal deeds, of justifying torture, legally for Bush.
+3 # phrixus 2012-07-08 11:32
All good points. More interesting to me is why UCB would hire scum like Yoo in the first place. It's tantamount to John Hopkins hiring Josef Mengele as a staff surgeon.
+38 # cunegonde 2012-07-06 12:01
Thanks to Reader Supported News for publishing this. Many of us don't take enough time to look at what "the other side" is saying - I certainly don't. To the extent that I have, I've been concerned about the "twist" that Will and Krauthammer have given the health care decision. They might turn out to be right, but I'm (somewhat) less worried about that after reading Yoo's piece.
+27 # Old Uncle Dave 2012-07-06 12:07
Yoo's interpretation of the powers given to the feds by the commerce clause must mean he thinks the federal government has no right to bust medical marijuana dispensaries who sell only locally grown medicine. Let's see him speak out on that issue.
+40 # Griz 2012-07-06 12:28
John Yoo would make a good spokesperson for a totalitarian government like China.
+21 # okie_mule 2012-07-06 12:38
Mr. Yoo is a foo I tells ya', he a fust class foo! And I loves it when he make it so cleahly so. I applaud U.C. Bezerkely for hiring this fella because every good university needs a few good professors who create strong student yearnings to take courses in classical logic.
+22 # mcav 2012-07-06 12:39
ACA and the Supreme Court ruling do not allow for the expansion of the "welfare state" but rather mandate the expansion of the corporate state by embedding profitable mandates benefiting the health care industry in legislation that forces citizens to purchase for-profit health care, thereby guaranteeing profit for the health care industry with a captive market. This is not socialism, it is capitalism perfected in the halls of government.
+21 # stonecutter 2012-07-06 13:14
I pay as much attention to Yoo as I do to the "discovery" of the Higgs boson, the amount of time it takes me to read a headline and move on. Many thousands of law school grads have been unable to get even a basic law position in this crumbling economy, are relegated to low-paying fallback junk jobs outside the law, for which they're grossly overqualified, so I'll leave Yoo and his twisted perceptions of the Constitution to the arcane subculture of Constitutional law scholarship, and the horses-ass conservative media that continue to cover this arrogant guy's publicized extremist opinions. If he was on fire in front of me, I wouldn't piss on him.
+10 # Regina 2012-07-06 23:09
Yo, Stonecutter -- the Higgs boson is the greatest physics discovery of our age. It's unfortunately very difficult for non-specialists to understand, as hard as the specialists try to explain it. But even if the general public isn't ready to dig it, try to appreciate two things: (1) it was predicted 50 years ago by a brilliant Scots scientist, as an absolute necessity for a lot of related and established science to hold true; and (2) it took a lot of energy and money as well as brains and sweat to get it done, and the discovery proved the theoretical framework for some very basic, though esoteric, science. The discovery was accomplished in Europe some years after our Congress killed the funds for the big collider started in Texas and then abandoned. Moral: we can ignore Yoo, because we can understand where he's wrong. We can appreciate the Higgs boson even if we can't understand it, because it was thought out on the basis of theoretical reasoning and then found in physical experiments to prove that prediction and verify the theory. Thanks for listening.
-1 # stonecutter 2012-07-08 09:53
With respect, if virtually no one other than a demographic proton of scientists can even begin to understand this discovery, assuming it's real, and further, no one has yet remotely explained how, even if it is real, it impacts everyday life in our crumbling world, beyond continuing to employ that proton of physicists in further "esoteric" research, what is the point of the billions spent, when the rest of our nation is imploding in on itself by any measure? "We can appreciate the Higgs boson even if we can't understand it" sounds like the standard line for selling religious "faith", with the CERN people some kind of warped clergy asking the rest of us to just "trust" their accomplishment. How many scientific data have been faked over the last 100 years? How many experiments have been faulty, or ineptly constructed? Forgive me, but the entities funding this "discovery" haven't a clue as to whether it's "real or Memorex". In the U.S., I'd exchange the Higgs boson for a functioning government, and a full-employment economy, in the time it takes to smash a few protons.
+1 # phrixus 2012-07-08 17:45
Actually, understanding the Higgs boson (albeit at a basic conceptual level) is pretty straightforward stuff. The same could be said for Yoo i.e. he's one sick guy.
+44 # samoking1 2012-07-06 13:20

John Yoo is one of the "Bush 6" Torture Advocates and has done much harm to America's reputation World wide. That he is teaching future lawyers is an ethical disaster. Even worse his fellow torture advocate Jay Bybee was rewarded with an appointment to the Federal Appellate Bench and now sits on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal. All six of these torture lawyers should be indicted for war crimes and if convicted sentenced to long periods in prison. Their opinions on public policy are interesting only to the extent one might want to know how the Nazi Eichmann or Doctor Mengele the Concentration Camp Doctor might feel on a given issue.
+7 # RicKelis 2012-07-06 13:34
More judicial sophistry. The WikiPedia entry for 'sophism' ends with "Sophists had great impact on the early development of law, as the sophists were the first lawyers in the world. Their status as lawyers was a result of their extremely developed argumentation skills.[11]" 'nuf said.
+37 # davidr 2012-07-06 13:43
Yoo and the Federalist Society are fighting a rear guard action against the New Deal. Yoo owns right up to it. Reagan set out to reverse the New Deal by crippling organized labor, and by deregulating and privatizing everything he could get his hands on. Bush (privatize Social Security), Walker (destroy unions), Ryan(voucherize Medicare), McConnell (repeal Obamacare) — they all have a strictly anti-New Deal agenda.

And it goes even farther back — to the Progressive Era. Today's Republicans seek to do away with the progressive income tax of yesterday's Republicans by privileging capital gains and profit sharing schemes. Today, they want nothing to do with the minimum wage. They are bent on thwarting social equality of women, immigrants and minorities. They give away public lands whenever possible. They seldom bring anti-trust actions or pursue any other regulatory activity.

But that's not all. They aren't crazy about the way the Civil War turned out either. "States' rights" (now called "Federalism" in an Orwellian twist) was originally and absolutely an objection to any federal restriction of slavery. Today, we not only have Republican voter suppression aimed at racial minorities, and school voucher programs that derive straight from opposition to Brown v Board, but we have Scalia in AZ v US citing, as precedent for a states' rights regime, antebellum state laws that denied residency to freed slaves.

This isn't Conservatism, but revanchism.
+3 # dovelane1 2012-07-07 05:27
What is revanchism? It's not in my dictionary.
+5 # futhark 2012-07-07 21:26
Quoting dovelane1:
What is revanchism? It's not in my dictionary.

From Wikipedia: "Revanchism (from French: revanche, "revenge") is a term used since the 1870s to describe a political manifestation of the will to reverse territorial losses incurred by a country, often following a war or social movement". The point davidr is trying to make, I believe, is that much of the Republican agenda is not intended to conserve any thing or principle of value, but to turn back the calendar to an era in which social injustice and inequality were accepted norms and were even legally sanctioned.
+10 # KittatinyHawk 2012-07-06 13:44
I always held Berkley and Stanford as Universities that allowed students to think, actually encouraged it.
The Eastern Ivy Leagues always had their noses so stuck up into their brain cavity that one didnot know if they were actually choking or boringly boosting.
Yoo could have been a role model, could have shown what it was like to be given a job, and actually gotten out of the Communist linage. Instead in the thuglican way aped himself to be as boring as one can.
I guess I appreciate my freedoms because I earn family didnot buy them.

Personally I do not care a whit about the gossip since the Ruling. Obamacare is in, it can be fixed to accomadate needs. What I want to see is People getting off their butt and doing something. Criticism is cheap, actions are what keeps freedom.

Thanks for the article but it is still only another opinion and they are what they are. Action is what Freed Slaves.
Want Freedom People...get involved. PC's are just another TV, you are in a reality show without a part. get a part
+26 # moby doug 2012-07-06 13:50
This is the same Yoo who found Constitutional justication for the Bush Administration' s torture of prisoners at Gitmo and Abu Ghraib. That tells us all we need to know about his chops as a Constitutional lawyer. It's a disgrace this fascist still has a faculty position at Boalt Hall, the UC Berkeley Law School. In any case, it's laughable that the far right is criticizing Roberts, who ALWAYS has the needs of corporate fascism foremost in his mind when he makes Constitional decisions. There is no doubt the Machiavellian Roberts is taking the long, sneaky, view in his Healthcare decision.
+30 # Forrest44 2012-07-06 14:15
Interesting to see John Yoo use the phrase "tortured reasoning." How appropriate, on at least two levels.
+19 # mjc 2012-07-06 14:45
Yoo says that the right answer for conservatives, "Who is your favorite Justice on the Court", should be Scalia, Alito or Thomas, not Roberts. Reminds me of a three year old not getting his desires, sticking his thumb in his mouth, screaming his temper tantrum. As many of you have pointed out here, Yoo is considered by the hard line conservatives as the strongest analyst they have, fulfilling their idea of an American republic controlled by the aristocratic wealthy and corporate fascists.
+21 # walt 2012-07-06 15:01
There is currently a petition to have Clarence Thomas impeached based on reported lobbying interests.

According to "The Other 98%," "Justice Thomas 'neglected' to report nearly a million dollars in household income made from lobbying related to cases before the court - and then, only made the disclosures when forced by legal obligation."

It will be interesting to see how this plays out and also how President Obama responds. Might he behave like FDR did as cited in this article?
+13 # tomo 2012-07-06 19:19
Yoo does not consider, as I think he should, that in giving a green light to the substance of Obama's and Congress's health-care act, Roberts has secured for our so-called health-care insurance industry a major windfall. It is one thing for Republicans like Mitch McConnell and John Boehner to puff and posture over the socialism of it all; it is quite another thing to deprive real bread-and-butte r Republicans in our vampire-like health-insuranc e industry of a vastly expanded number of clients for exploitation. Roberts has not hurt himself at all. Not only are inattentive Democrats everywhere suddenly singing his praises, but a great many dues-paying Republicans are quietly breathing a sign of relief. As usual, Yoo is blinded by a skewed ideology from seeing what is going on.
+8 # lockerh 2012-07-07 07:54
Yoo writes of "the greatest expansion of federal power in decades" as though he himself did not usher in the "greatest expansion of federal power" when he gave his blessings to torture.

Let's see .... torture v. health care ? Yes, I can see clearly how a man with John Yoo's brutal mentality could get confused.
Bob Locke, Sacramento
(so near to the once dear Berkeley)
+4 # sebastiangerard 2012-07-07 08:34
The expected "tortured" logic of Kim Jong Yoo
+10 # Innocent Victim 2012-07-07 09:27
Conservatives are misreading Roberts' decision. The victory is the health insurance industry's: Aetna's, Blue Cross's, United Healthcare's. They all wanted ACA, because it legitimizes and makes permanent their role in US health-care. Michael Moore and others who see ACA as advancing Medicare for all are wrong! It retards it, perhaps for a decade or more. Roberts did the conservative thing: he served big business. That is not a switch. That is consistency!
+13 # 2012-07-07 10:16
I am so thankful to read all of the comments about John Yoo. So much more interesting than his "opinion" which really is without value. He writes (the usual right wing talking point) about the "welfare state" and I'm thinking that he reversed everything this country has stood for in the last 200 some years by declaring torture to be okay and in line with American values. I agree with the comment that asks why he isn't in jail. AND he's TEACHING at Berkeley!!!! Unbelievable. He should be making license plates along with Cheney, Wolfowitz, Bush and all the other war criminals.
-1 # Regina 2012-07-07 13:59
Until he is arrested, tried, and convicted of a crime he is entitled to his tenured academic position. Faculty members may not be fired for their political opinions -- fortunately for those of us who think oppositely to the Yoos of the country. Crime is punishable -- thought and speech are not, luckily for all of us. The problem with Yoo is that he has evaded prosecution, not that he is teaching at Berkeley.
+2 # Innocent Victim 2012-07-08 09:40
You miss the point, I think. With all the fine scholars available for the position, why did Berkeley choose to appoint a political hack?
+2 # Innocent Victim 2012-07-08 09:38
Maybe he should be waterboarded, first, into confessing his crime. I know that would be hypocrisy but the law is full of it, and it would save a lot of money.
+6 # nickynono 2012-07-07 11:14
There is a subtle but telling comment in this diatribe: "...the court-packing plan.. went nowhere in the heavily Democratic Congress."
Democrats looked at what was FAIR, even if the plan was in their favor.Republica ns are not bothered by such a concern.
+4 # Gevurah 2012-07-07 18:35
I'd like to see him subjected to some of the tortures to which he gave legal cover while in the Bush --oops, Cheney --
White House.
+2 # Legal maven 2012-07-08 16:20
Please read The Lucifer Effect by Zimbardo, and you will learn in detail how the policy of the Bush administration, from Bush, Cheney, Rumsfield and others, unleashed by the legal opinion of Mr Yoo led directly and predictably to the torture and abuse of prisoners in Abu Ghraib, Gitmo, and other military prisons, based on the false claims that such torture would lead to actionable information against terrorists. This book will shock you in the amount of detail you might not have heard about. Zimbardo is the Stanford professor who conducted the famous Stanford Prisoner experiment and obtained direct information from the MP in charge of Tier 1 at Abu Ghraib about the failure of leadership from the president on down to those in charge of the prisons. This conduct by our military authored by Mr. Yoo will probably go down as one of the darkest periods in US military history. Comments by those who have not read this book and want to defend Mr Yoo have no understanding or credibility in their claims because they have no truth on which to base their claims.
0 # cynnibunny 2012-07-09 12:14
Do Not give Woo a platform!

The way your intent could have been handled better is by a columnist giving a critique of Woo's statements. Woo's full piece could have been featured by a web reference, and commentary offered more objectively.

Woo is deft, amoral, and willing to support the 'nationalistic rights' of America to do whatever it wants. He was the one who advocated torture. Remember that? As such, he should never, ever be given a voice in a free country.

I recall when NPR's Steve Inski did an interview with Woo. Though clearly oppositional, Inski was outclassed, outspoken, and thoroughly trounced by Woo. The 'interview' became a platform for Woo to weave his jingoistic lies, and fear mongering.

Woo believes in might = right. And he was and is willing to do anything to follow that through.

I disagree with your decision to give Woo an uncritical forum.

THE NEW STREAMLINED RSN LOGIN PROCESS: Register once, then login and you are ready to comment. All you need is a Username and a Password of your choosing and you are free to comment whenever you like! Welcome to the Reader Supported News community.