John Yoo

New York Times NYT newspaper.jpgIf you happen to be on the frigid East Coast today, currently experiencing the coldest temperatures of the season, grab yourself a cup of cocoa and a copy of the Sunday New York Times. The NYT often has articles of interest to a legal audience, but this weekend’s edition has an especially high number of stories either by or about the boldface names of the legal profession. To wit:
John Yoo John C Yoo John Choon Yoo law professor.jpg1. Power of Attorney: Questions for John Yoo. Deborah Solomon interviews John Yoo, the Berkeley law professor perhaps most well-known for his authorship of the so-called “torture memos.” Considering her liberal politics and modus operandi as an interviewer — we’ve previously described her as “snarky, cranky, exceedingly direct” — we were expecting her to go to town on Yoo.
But Professor Yoo actually comes across very well in the short Q-and-A (and is looking newly svelte in the accompanying photo). He’s smart, funny, and charming — not a surprise to us, based on our personal interactions with him, but perhaps a surprise to some who know only the cartoon villain depicted by the mainstream media.
2. The 30-Minute Interview: Jonathan L. Mechanic. An interesting interview with real estate super-lawyer Jonathan Mechanic, chairman of the real estate department of Fried Frank (and previously profiled here). We learn that Mechanic, in addition to being a top real estate attorney, is also a real estate investor: he owns retail and commercial properties in Bergen County, NJ (where we grew up).
Three more stories, after the jump.

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John Yoo Philadelphia.JPG* It sounds like very few protesters greeted John Yoo at Berkeley Law School. Only four were tenacious enough to get arrested. [Associated Press]
* Fen-phen lawyers sentenced to 20 and 25 years, respectively. The judge wants their sentences to deter other lawyers tempted to steal from settlement funds. [Bloomberg]
* Proskauer Rose probably likes this headline. [New York Daily News]
* Nino leads one to believe that empathy is not an important quality in a judge. [New York Times via Daily Beast]
* The 5th Circuit agrees with a Texas school district that has banned “shirts with words.” Are shirts with numbers okay? [Courthouse News Service]
* Michael Jackson’s children have lawyered up. [CNN]
* Nationwide salary cut watch: LA County judges. [Los Angeles Times]
* Why has there been no litigation surge in the recession? [National Law Journal]

John Yoo Philadelphia.JPGBerkeley Law School professor (and former Department of Justice attorney) John Yoo published his inaugural column in the Philadelphia Inquirer on Sunday. He argues that Obama should nominate somebody FDR would have liked to the Supreme Court:

Franklin Roosevelt faced exactly this dilemma. With large majorities at his back, FDR pushed through sweeping legislative efforts to end the Great Depression (which never really worked). His only obstacle became the Supreme Court, which held several basic New Deal laws to violate the Constitution’s limits on federal powers and the economic rights of the individual. Only after FDR waged a campaign to increase the size of the court and give himself more appointments did the justices surrender. The New Deal could not have survived without judges that deferred to the legislature on economic regulation.

Obama could make a pick based solely on race or sex – though it’s not clear why the most empathetic judges are minorities or women – to please parts of his coalition. But if the president wants to secure the success of his economic, political, and national-security objectives, he should remember FDR’s example and choose a judge who believes in the right of the president and Congress, not the courts, to make the nation’s policies. If Obama shoots for empathy instead, he will give Senate Republicans yet another opportunity to rally around a unifying issue where they better represent the majority of Americans.

Wait, so now FDR’s court-packing scheme was a good idea? Because it hobbled SCOTUS and forced them to defer to Roosevelt’s amazing enhancement of federal power? A conservative believes this?

Before we get too bogged down in Yoo’s argument, can somebody remind me why we care about what John Yoo has to say?
The left (over) reacts, after the jump.

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Boalt Hall UC Berkeley Law School Above the Law blog.jpgAs we mentioned last week, U.C. Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law hired a brand consulting firm to come up with a new name for the school. The effort ended somewhat anticlimactically. Boalt paid $25,000 to Marshall Strategy Inc., which came up with this brilliant new moniker: “UC Berkeley School of Law.”
Oh well. But since we already took the time to read through hundreds of suggested new names for Boalt Hall, we’re going to conduct this reader poll anyway.
Cast your vote, after the jump.

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Erwin Chemerinsky Duke Law School UC Irvine Above the Law blog.jpgOkay, so the folks over at TMZ.com don’t chase them around yet. But here at ATL, we adore legal celebrities — and invite you to send in your encounters with them, for our Eyes of the Law sightings column.
Last Friday, for lovers of legal boldface names from the left or the right, William & Mary School of Law was the place to be:

William and Mary Law School (and the College) had a series of speakers of today, all wedged into a very tight schedule. They included:

At noon, former Dean of UC Irvine School of Law Erwin Chemerinsky. Unfortunately, I didn’t go to his talk, so I can’t say whether he talked about the controversy.

At 1 PM, UC Berkley professor (and evil incarnate if you believe some blogs) John Yoo spoke. Yoo said in his introduction that he was being “wedged in” between “the former Dean of UC Irvine” and Stuart Taylor, who was speaking at 2 on his book on the Duke rape case, “Until Proven Innocent.”

We also had a panel on Saturday on “Judicial Modesty,” which included such leading lights as Dahlia Lithwick, Michael McConnell, Carter Phillips and Jeffrey Rosen. See here (PDF).

Quite the weekend for legal geeks! (Er. You know. If I was one of them).

Although this tipster wasn’t at the Chemerinsky talk, other ATL readers were. Check out this video, posted on the blog of the W&M chapter of the American Constitution Society. Isn’t Chemerinsky adorable?
Additional discussion of the Erwin Chemerinsky and John Yoo appearances, after the jump.

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