November 15, 2005

All Power to King George!

Don't miss David Cole's article on John Yoo in the current New York Review of Books.

Posted by Gregory at November 15, 2005 03:33 AM | TrackBack (1)
Comments

Thanks for the link Greg - interesting article... Even to me with no legal background it seems clear that what Yoo argue for seems to be the very antithesis of what the Founding Fathers put in place in the constitution - especially given the historical context in which the founding fathers appeared to have sough to avoid the very abuses of power by the British Monarchy that led to the War of Independence

Posted by: Aran Brown at November 15, 2005 04:56 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

What is most disturbing is that Yoo's theories were taken seriously by the White House. In non-technical language, Cole eviscerates Yoo's arguments --- and does so without breaking a sweat. Yet these arguments were accepted by Bush --- was there no dissent presented? Or is Bush incapable of understanding the difference between a valid legal argument, and baseless bullshit?

Posted by: lukasiak at November 15, 2005 07:59 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Yoo's arguments for executive supremacy are excessive, and I'd wager that even a good amount of conservative lawyers disagree with some of his arguments.

That said, much of what Cole addresses and (in some cases, rightly) criticizes isn't relevant to the War on Terror. So what if Yoo is incorrect to the extent that he argues that the President does not need congressional authorization to engage in an offensive war? Bush received congressional authorization for the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts (and in the case of Iraq, actively lobbied for such authorization). But is Yoo incorrect in his belief that as Commander In Chief, the President has the constitutional prerogative to fight a conflict in whatever manner he sees fit, limited only by the availability of congressional appropriations and the threat of impeachment? Here, I think Yoo is on much stronger ground, and both the opinions of many of the Framers and the history of American warfighting give substantial support to this opinion. That doesn't mean that Yoo's opinion on this matter is flawless, but it deserves more consideration than Cole gives it.

It's also important to note that Cole is as far to the left as Yoo is to the right, and some of the points he raises in the context of criticizing Yoo, particularly with regard to treaties, have never been accepted by the Supreme Court (which isn't to say that Yoo's position on the effects of treaties isn't open to serious criticism).

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