Thursday, July 17, 2008

After Yoo ... Ashcroft

Former Justice Department lawyer John Yoo (pictured), now a professor at UC Berkeley Law, was the focus of attention once again at a House Judiciary Committee hearing today into the Bush administration’s interrogation procedures.
Yoo himself testified last month, but this time it was the turn of his former boss, John Ashcroft.
But even the presence of the former attorney general wasn’t enough to stop Democrats taking a pop at Yoo’s role in writing two infamous memos that included broad interpretations of executive power.
“I don’t question Mr. Yoo’s patriotism or love of country, but I do question his legal analysis,” said Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose.
Prominent Washington lawyer Walter Dellinger, who heads the Supreme Court practice at O’Melveny & Myers, also laid it on thick.
He described a “deeply flawed process” that produced a “disastrous legal opinion” that “was, I think, a virtually shocking assertion of presidential authority.”
Even Ashcroft conceded that Yoo’s work contained analysis of “arguable appropriateness.”
But before throwing Yoo under the bus, Ashcroft did have some kind words for the embattled professor.
“John Yoo is a noted expert in national security, he is a person of incredible intelligence, and he’s an outstanding person who wanted to serve America,” Ashcroft said.

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