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Sunday, December 25, 2005

John Yoo profiles in the NYT

We landed in McAllen a few hours ago, after a full day of travel: walk to bart, bart to oak, oak to dtw, 2 hours there, and then finally dtw-mfe.

Just got Firefox 1.5 and Performancing installed. So look for plenty of posts over the next week that we're here.

Thanks to John's list, this Salon landed in my inbox":"Bush's impeachable offense."

Decided to forward it to a few guys, and since one of them is a lawyer, also forwarded a couple pieces about John Yoo that ran in the NYT over the past couple weeks.

Anj and I made our first visit to the The Canvas Gallery Friday afternoon--a stop on our way to the new de Young. While we were sitting there, I read this profile of Yoo: "A Junior Aide Had a Big Role in Terror Policy."

In searching for that link, I came across a short piece by Jeffrey Rosen titled "The Yoo Presidency". It's one of the 80-odd such short essays highlighting the Mag's choices for "The Year in Ideas."

A few paragraphs from that profile:

Mr. Yoo is often identified as the most aggressive among a group of conservative legal scholars who have challenged the importance of international law in the American legal system. But his signature contributions to the policies of the Bush administration have had more to do with his forceful assertion of wide presidential powers in wartime.

While Mr. Yoo has become almost famous for some of his writings - the refutation of both his academic and government work has become almost a cottage industry among more liberal legal scholars and human rights lawyers - much less is known about how he came to wield the remarkable influence he had after Sept. 11 on issues related to terrorism.

That Washington tale began about a decade before Mr. Yoo joined the administration in July 2001, when he finished at Yale Law School and won a clerkship with Judge Laurence H. Silberman of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, a keen spotter of young legal talent and a patriarch of the network of conservative lawyers who have occupied key positions throughout the Bush administration.

By then, Mr. Yoo already thought of himself as solidly conservative. He had grown up with anticommunist parents who left their native South Korea for Philadelphia shortly after Mr. Yoo was born in 1967, and had honed his political views while an undergraduate at Harvard.

From the chambers of Judge Silberman, Mr. Yoo moved on to a clerkship with Justice Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court, stopping briefly at Berkeley. Justice Thomas helped place him with Senator Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah, as general counsel on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Along the way, Mr. Yoo passed up a chance to work in the Washington office of the law firm Jones Day, where he caught the eye of a senior partner, Timothy E. Flanigan. After five years that Mr. Yoo spent at Berkeley, writing on legal aspects of foreign affairs, war powers and presidential authority, the two men met up again when Mr. Yoo joined the Bush campaign's legal team, where Mr. Flanigan was a key lieutenant.

Mr. Flanigan became the deputy White House counsel under Alberto R. Gonzales. Mr. Yoo ended up as a deputy in the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, or the O.L.C., a small unit of lawyers that advises the executive branch on constitutional questions and on the legality of complex or disputed policy issues.

After the attacks of Sept. 11, Mr. Yoo - the only deputy with much expertise on foreign policy and war powers - began dealing with the White House and other agencies more directly than he might have otherwise.

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