John Yoo Sees Orange, Again

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John Yoo awarded Fletcher Jones Distinguished Visiting Professorship

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John Yoo
2008-9 Fletcher Jones Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law

Chapman University School of Law
One University Drive, Orange, California  92866

Think of all that orange: Orange, the color of the jumpsuits donned by anti-torture activists demonstrating within and around John Yoo's Boalt Hall campus refuge, the attire of the victims Yoo's "legal" memos condemned to lives of torture and despair. Orange, the color of the ribbons pinned to the everyday attire of concerned Berkeley residents and students, signifying their condemnation of the horrible crimes of illegal detention and torture being committed in their names, while the author of those crimes strolls freely among them on their streets and within their UC campus. Orange, the color of the billboard prominently displayed in downtown Berkeley with the words, "Torture + Silence = Complicity," that invited residents and visitors alike to reflect on their responsibility in these matters and act [1]. And now, Orange, CA, the location of John Yoo's latest professional venture -- distinguished visiting Professor of Law, Chapman University.

What does this new appointment mean? For John Yoo, perhaps it means another feather in his professional cap, peer recognition, and salary enhancement. It helps further legitimize the myth of him as a successful and worthwhile member of the community. For Chapman University School of Law, it means added prestige, enhanced school ranking, and a ballooning student applicant pool [2]. For UC Berkeley, we might venture to say they gain from the added "prestige" this appointment affords their tenured law professor.

But what does John Yoo's visiting professorship mean for the students at Chapman University School of Law? The answer is the same as that for the students of Boalt Law: the legitimacy of exposing students of law to the instruction of a professor whose legal and scholarly advice has resulted in such disastrous national policy and the suffering and death of untold torture victims has to be seriously challenged [3].

There's no word that Yoo's position as Professor of Law at Boalt Hall has changed with his appointment as visiting professor at Chapman University School of Law. So what does this mean for the City of Berkeley? Might Yoo's appointment at Chapman be considered an "outside matter," much as his guilt or innocence for his acknowledged war crimes and crimes against humanity might be considered an "outside" national matter [4]? Most certainly not.

On December 8th the Berkeley City Council will have the opportunity to take up the matter of John Yoo during a public hearing on a resolution submitted by the Berkeley Peace and Justice Commission recommending the firing and disbarment of John Yoo and his prosecution for war crimes [5]. It should be very clear by now that if the City of Berkeley does not act decisively to hold John Yoo to account for his crimes, not only will it allow Yoo continued use of his "privileged" position in Berkeley to move into other venues within academia, but it will open the door for other criminal elements within the Bush administration to follow suit.

[1]  Peace Activists Use Billboard to Call for Firing of UC Law Professor, Judith Scherr, August 07, 2008,

[2]  Chapman Ups The Reputation Ante With Some Big Name Faculty, Petra Pasternak, October 07, 2008,

[3]  Blame Berkeley, Phillip Carter, April 14, 2008,

[4]  White Paper On The Law Of Torture And Holding Accountable Those Who Are Complicit In Approving Torture Of Persons In U.S. Custody, National Lawyers Guild, 

[5]  Berkeley City Council to Consider Resolution Urging Prosecution of John Yoo, Linda Rigas, December 4, 2008,


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This page contains a single entry published on December 7, 2008 12:40 AM.

Why Won't UC Berkeley Investigate John Yoo? was the previous entry in this blog.

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