John Yoo

Now that you’ve figured out what to give your secretary this holiday season, what about the lawyers in your life? Many of you have friends or family members who are lawyers or law students, and if you haven’t done so already, you need to get them — forgive the expression — Christmas presents (or holiday gifts, if you prefer).

Lawyerly types can be tough to shop for. As we’ve previously discussed, lawyers aren’t great about giving gratitude, and they’re often very critical — so your gifts might not be warmly received. Also, many lawyers earn good incomes, meaning that when they actually need or want something, they often just go out and buy it themselves (or let their firm to buy it for them — e.g., the iPad).

So what should you get for the lawyers in your life this holiday season? We have some suggestions….

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[T]he imperatives of law enforcement distract soldiers and intelligence agents from their primary war-fighting mission. We don’t want our soldiers pausing on hostile battlefields to read detainees Miranda warnings, take down witness statements, and collect evidence in plastic baggies. They should remain focused on finding and killing al Qaeda terrorists.

– Professor John Yoo, in an op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal.

A tale of two Yalies: former president Bill Clinton and aspiring senator Joe Miller.

According to the all-powerful ranking gods of U.S. News, Yale Law School is the nation’s #1 law school. In fact, Yale has been the top law school ever since the magazine started ranking law schools.

Recently, however, controversy has arisen over possible damage to the school’s reputation. As first reported in today’s New York Daily News, former President Bill Clinton and Alaska Republican Senate nominee Joe Miller are pointing fingers at each other for “diminish[ing] the university’s reputation as an elite institution.”

Let’s explore the spat — and review and vote on the seven contenders for Yale Law School’s most disgraceful graduate….

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A gallery of seven rogues and a poll.


That’s one of the topics covered by an impressive trio of law professors — Richard Epstein, Glenn Reynolds, and John Yoo — in an interesting, wide-ranging discussion over at PJTV. Although they all hail from the right side of the aisle, they disagree on a number of issues. Here’s a summary:

Are law schools creating a new generation law fools? Is the bar exam the best measure of a lawyer? Are the best law schools even worth the money? Law professors John Yoo and Richard Epstein of Richochet.com discussion the legal profession on this episode of Instavision.

One of the most interesting parts of the discussion takes place when Professor Reynolds mentions that he decided to attend Yale Law School over free rides from Duke and Chicago. He asks Professors Epstein and Yoo: What advice would you give to a prospective law student facing a similar choice today?

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Last week, Elie and I debated the subject of liberal bias in legal education. Does it exist? Does it matter? Many of you continued the debate, in the comments.

Since our discussion, a number of notable thinkers have also tackled the topic. They include what we’d describe as the legal world’s answer to the McLaughlin Group, a small gathering of highly opinionated and outspoken pundits: Richard Epstein, Elizabeth Wurtzel, and John Yoo. (This same trio recently debated the bar exam and its utility.)

So what did they have to say about liberal bias in legal academia?

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I’ve already shared with you my views on the burqa (views that weren’t popular with some of our more politically correct and/or sensitive readers). And you’ve already voted in a reader poll on efforts to ban the burqa, showing that 60 percent of you are wimps do not support France’s effort to ban the burqa.

Now some law professors have weighed in on the burqa ban. In a piece earlier this month for the Opinionator blog of the New York Times, University of Chicago law professor Martha Nussbaum offered a thoughtful critique of the burqa ban.

Over the weekend, two other prominent law professors — Richard Epstein, Nussbaum’s colleague at U. Chicago, and John Yoo, of Berkeley — jumped into the fray….

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A tale of three Yalies: Elizabeth Wurtzel, Richard Epstein, and John Yoo.

… or talk about the bar. Welcome to one of those “only on the internet” moments, a spirited debate between three people I adore: Elizabeth Wurtzel, Richard Epstein, and John Yoo. The subject: the bar exam (but also law schools and the legal profession more generally).

Here’s one thing the three share in common: they’re all graduates of Yale Law School. The similarities pretty much end there. Elizabeth Wurtzel is a litigatrix at the high-powered Boies Schiller firm, but her real claim to fame is her work as a bestselling and critically acclaimed writer. Richard Epstein is one of the nation’s leading law professors — U. Chicago and NYU folks, you can argue over which school he belongs to — and an outspoken libertarian. John Yoo, a prominent (and conservative) law professor at UC Berkeley, is most well-known for his work in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, where he authored the so-called “torture memos.”

Wurtzel is super-liberal — her reaction to 9/11 was controversial, to say the least — while Professors Epstein and Yoo both hail from the right side of the aisle (to put it mildly). Back in May, I identified both Epstein and Yoo as possible nominees for the conservative wing of an “unconfirmable” Supreme Court.

So how would you react to learning of a three-way debate between Wurtzel, Epstein, and Yoo — in which the dynamic is not La Wurtzel v. Epstein & Yoo?

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Choosing not to study a treatise on presidential administrative policies containing 527 footnotes is an understandable act of self-preservation.

John Yoo

Flyer via Nuts & Boalts

UC-Berkeley once again topped Michigan in the (leaked so still unofficial) U.S. News law school rankings. Boalt Hall also dominated the Wolverines this month when it comes to secret society activity.

Whereas, members of Michigan’s “Barrister’s Society” threw their dirty laundry o’er the rooftops, resulting in campus-wide derision, recent activities by Berkeley’s “Gun Club” have left their fellow students appropriately mystified and intrigued.

A Boaltie tells us:

Last week, flyers featuring John Yoo’s face, with the phrase “I’m sorry, for everything” were posted around Boalt Hall.

Everyone assumed it was just the usual torture-memo protesters who flock to Berkeley, in the hope that it’s still the Bezerkeley of the 1960s, only to find a bunch of JD and MBA students hurrying by, scowling at their unshowered ways.

On Tuesday morning, the flyer reappeared in the student center, attached to the King of Beers….

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John Yoo unimpressed

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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