The Right Coast
May 24, 2004
John Yoo denounced at Berkeley
By Tom Smith
John Yoo, professor at Boalt Hall, who has been depicted on this blog as saying reasonable things on TV, apparently wrote a memo saying Taliban and Al Queada terrorists don't get the same benefits under international law as would prisoners of war. According to the story, about a quarter of Berkeley's law graduates wore red armbands (why red?) to protest the memo and Professor Yoo's presence on the Berkeley faculty. (via VC) Some students made themselves available to say stupid things to reporters.
What I think is especially cute about the protest is that the question did not even arise, apparently, whether Professor Yoo was correct, as a matter of law, in his opinion. Did it even cross the brilliant legal minds of the young protestors to wonder that? I doubt it very much. Nope, not if you think law is just the outfit you dress your opinion in. If the law were clear that illegal combatants, say, are out of luck when it comes to conditions of confinement, for example, then isn't it the job of Yoo to advise his client of that?
We don't get much protestation here at USD, which is fine with me. I hear that a lot of conservative students are afraid to speak out in class, since they feel they are in the minority, but that they read the Right Coast (some secretly). Conservative anxiety is probably exagerated. But nothing could please me more than to give solace to law students around the country who don't want to feel so . . . alone! In the meantime, Professor Yoo has another badge of honor in the book of me and many others. What a stud.