Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Tuesday, April 13, 2010 11:11 pm

The OTHER report on John Yoo

Some months ago, the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility issued a scrubbed report saying that by writing memos permitting torture, then-Justice officials John Yoo and Jay Bybee, now a Berkeley law professor and a federal appeals judge, respectively, had showed bad judgment but hadn’t committed “intentional professional misconduct,” which would merit disbarment.

I say “scrubbed” because the professional staff who prepared the report originally did conclude reach a misconduct conclusion, but a longtime Justice honcho, David Margolis, overruled them. (I examined the ridiculosity of Margolis’s action here.)

But torture wasn’t the only thing Yoo was going under the microscope for defending. He also was — and remains — under investigation for defending the idea that the President can order his fellow citizens wiretapped without a warrant. As it happens, a federal judge has finally, and officially, called bullshit on that notion. So that report will make interesting reading, too, even if Margolis once again steps in to get Yoo off the hook. And don’t bet that won’t happen: Margolis is a Justice lifer, for good or ill, and his current bosses appear to want that power just as badly as his old ones did.

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