"Academic freedom" is not the same thing as "immunity for academics."

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Yes, Fire John Yoo
Posted to Economics of Contempt 

I agree with Brad DeLong: John Yoo should be fired.

I am not a constitutional lawyer. I think most non-lawyers would be surprised to find that a vast majority of U.S. constitutional law is mind-numbingly boring.

But a good friend from law school who is a bona fide constitutional law expert has repeatedly assured me that Yoo's so-called "Torture Memo" is undeniably false, and that Yoo is effectively guilty of professional misconduct. Had the Torture Memo been submitted to a court, Yoo's failure to even address Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer (1952) would have violated Rule 3.3(a)(2) of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct, which prohibits lawyers from "knowingly . . . fail[ing] to disclose to the tribunal legal authority in the controlling jurisdiction known to the lawyer to be directly adverse to the position of the client and not disclosed by opposing counsel." On grounds of professional misconduct alone, Yoo could--and should--be fired from Berkeley Law.

DeLong's reasoning is solid, but the arguments about academic freedom are extraneous. Repeat after me: OLC memos are not academic scholarship. "Academic freedom" is not the same thing as "immunity for academics." Yoo is guilty of professional misconduct, and is probably criminally liable as well. Giving arguments about "academic freedom" the time of day is far too generous, in my opinion.

see also Think, before you (invite someone to) speak

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry published on April 19, 2009 9:58 AM.

legal case against Haynes: the "bar association strategy" was the previous entry in this blog.

"Cal Day" and Yoo; new student and family orientation to the torturer of Berkeley Law is the next entry in this blog.

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