referendum on John Yoo?

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School dean and law prof at Chapman Law debate if former Bush adviser John Yoo fit to teach

10 APRIL 2009 10:51 AM

John Yoo

The Chapman University School of Law dean and a professor at the Orange County, Calif., law school gave LA Times readers a preview of what the upcoming debate between former Bush administration legal adviser John Yoo and professors at the school could look like.

Published in the LA Times Opinion section Thursday, Dean John C. Eastman and professor Lawrence Rosenthal wrote separate pieces arguing whether Chapman visiting professor John Yoo, who teaches at U.C. Berkeley's Boalt Hall, is fit to mold and Socratize young legal minds.

Mr. Rosenthal, whose piece ran above Eastman's, stated that Mr. Yoo should not be teaching because the memos he produced for the Bush administration, including one that said the president could allow torture, were flawed in their legal reasoning.

Mr. Rosenthal writes:

"While I yield to no one in my respect for academic freedom, the memos reflect a kind of tunnel vision that I would not tolerate in a student's work and certainly not in the work of an attorney for our government."

Dean Eastman disagrees, stating that Mr. Yoo's presence on the campus inspires healthy debate, and Eastman even goes so far as to disagree with those who have criticized Mr. Yoo.

Mr. Eastman writes:

"As the dean of the law school, I welcome his presence and the debate it has provoked. The opportunity to confront positions with which one disagrees is the hallmark of a first-rate education. As a constitutional law scholar, I should also note my disagreement with Yoo's detractors."

Read why Mr. Eastman disagrees with the critics of Mr. Yoo's memos here.

There's no mention of the recent developments in Spain, where prosecutors took the first steps toward a possible criminal investigation for six Bush officials.

Mr. Rosenthal is one of two professors at Chapman scheduled to debate Mr. Yoo 11 a.m. Tuesday, April 21 in the university's Memorial Hall in a dialogue titled "Presidential Power and Success in Times of Crisis".

If you're planning on going, it sounds like it would be a good idea to show up early. The university, in anticipation of a large turnout, has moved the event to a larger location than originally planned and will not be including lunch.

For more information on the event, Chapman's Web site says to contact Barbara Babcock at

Photo: Wikipedia / Wikimedia Commons

see also Law School News: Chapman faces heat from Fire John Yoo site 

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