John Yoo Drops Out of Federalist Society Conference...

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Yoo, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley School of
Law, and a one-time official in Justice's Office of Legal Counsel, had
been listed as part of a panel slated to discuss the role of government
lawyers in the war on terror. Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher partner Miguel
Estrada, who is defending Yoo in a lawsuit brought by convicted
terrorist Jose Padilla, is still set to appear on the panel. A liberal
activist group, Alliance for Justice, is planning demonstrations that
day of the conference to urge Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. to
release an Office of Professional Responsibility report on the so-called
"torture memos."

"There was a scheduling conflict," said Federalist Society President
Eugene Meyer of Yoo's withdrawal. "He is going to be talking to the
Federalist Society later towards the end of January."

Yoo has long been a high-profile target for critics of the Bush
administration's policies on the treatment of terrorism suspects. The
Alliance for Justice blasted a press release today declaring that Yoo's
decision not to attend the conference "shows that pressure is building
to hold accountable those who provided legal cover for torture."

It also noted that another ex-official, former Office of Legal Counsel
chief Daniel Levin, said last week that he would be comfortable with an
investigation into his and his colleagues' conduct surrounding the

In an interview, Alliance for Justice spokeswoman Gaye Williams said the
group didn't know whether its planned protests influenced Yoo's decision
to attend. "I just think it's interesting that he was going to speak and
now he's not," Williams said.

Yoo declined to comment. But Estrada said that the protests had nothing
to do with his client's decision not to speak. "John is never someone to
withdraw because of protests," Estrada said.

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This page contains a single entry published on November 9, 2009 10:45 PM.

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