Academia: June 2008 Archives

A Call for an Inquiry into the Ideological and Legal Origins of the Torture Doctrine

By David A. Sylvester, April 11, 2006

Today we are here to challenge Professor Christopher Edley, Jr, dean of Boalt Hall at the UC-Berkeley School of Law, as a former civil rights attorney, as well as the rest of the law faculty at Boalt Hall to respond to a national emergency. That national emergency is that their profession - the academic legal profession and the universities that have trained them - has produced an ideology that claims to justify what used to be considered crimes of totalitarian governments, namely arbitrary detention, torture, trials before military commissions without any civil due process, not just as emergency measures required during a state of war but as legally based on the United States Constitution.

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Huffington Post blogger Kent Greenfield writes that the message delivered by US Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey to Boston College Law School graduates May 22nd "was essentially a call to the avoidance of responsibility. I only hope our students did not take the message to heart."

Excerpts from "Mukasey's Defense of Professional Irresponsibility" :

Besides defending overly aggressive DOJ attorneys, Mukasey's second lesson for our graduates was more subtle but just as distressing. The task of a government lawyer, indeed any lawyer, is to "do law." Lawyers must give a "close reading" and "critical analysis" of text, and to "tune out" the "white noise" of criticism and second-guessing. He urged our graduates to learn to filter out their own moral and political views when they "do law," so they can "advise clients that the law permits them to take actions that you may find imprudent, or even wrong"...

What I wish our graduates had heard from the nation's leading attorney was the importance of personal responsibility for not only the technical part of lawyering but the moral side as well.

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Events & Calendars

War Criminals Watch Events

Important Reading

Physicians for Human Rights
Broken Laws, Broken Lives

NLG White Paper

The President's Executioner

Detention and torture in Guantanamo

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This page is a archive of entries in the Academia category from June 2008.

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