Thursday, February 25, 2010

John Yoo and Nuremberg

2/25/2010--for further commentary on the "exoneration" of John Yoo and Jay Bybee by the Justice Department, see my piece in the online magazine Religion Dispatches, John Yoo and Jay Bybee Dodge Disciplinary Action but Recall Nuremberg.


  1. I read the article and have seen Yoo defend his position on TV. His argument seems to be that the Commander in Chief "has a license to kill", by virtue of his or her role as the supreme military authority.

    Apart from the obvious issues regarding the rule of law, is there any legal foundation for circumscribing the President's role?

  2. Yes. I will follow this comment up with sources from the literature, but the main point is that the framers of the Constitution abhorred unchecked power and it is a little absurd to imagine that they thought they were creating an executive as powerful in war as the monarchy. (Of course this assumes that historical intent should decide this or any other constitutional issue, which I reject, but Yoo claims to follow). Yoo's view is certainly a minority one.

  3. Yes, that's what I assumed as well. Not being a lawyer, however, I was wondering how the intent of the framers is discerned and given weight when arriving at a legal interpretation.

    Of course, the problem here is that the legalisms one tries to address in the text of a legal argument often mask the horror of the deed.


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