Law School Dean Defends Yoo Against Calls for Dismissal; Yoo to Speak Monday

Friday April 11, 2008

The UC Berkeley School of Law Dean Christopher Edley Jr. came to the defense this week of law professor John Yoo, author of one of the "torture memos” for the Bush administration, and said the controversial professor could not be fired.  

Yoo, who was deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel at the U.S. Department of Justice from 2001 to 2003, helped establish an interrogation policy towards terrorism suspects for the Bush administration that many have decried as harsh and inhumane. 

While Edley said that he disagreed with Yoo's legal analysis of how prisoners could be treated, he nonetheless defended Yoo’s position as a tenured professor. Edley’s comments were posted Thursday on the school's website at www.law.berkeley.edu/news/2008/edley041008.html 

Calling Yoo “a very successful teacher,” Edley wrote, “Assuming one believes as I do that Professor Yoo offered bad ideas and even worse advice during his government service, that judgment alone would not warrant dismissal or even a potentially chilling inquiry.” 

Edley’s remarks came as a response to the urging of the National Lawyers Guild earlier this week calling for the dismissal of Yoo from the UC Berkeley law school. 

"John Yoo's complicity in establishing the policy that led to the torture of prisoners constitutes a war crime under the U.S. War Crimes Act," National Lawyers Guild President Marjorie Cohn was quoted as saying. 

Yoo is scheduled to speak on Monday at the Bancroft Hotel, 2680 Bancroft Way, as part of the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology’s 2008 Privacy Lecture, focusing on the intersection between privacy and national security law. Yoo will be responding to remarks by keynote speaker David Cole, professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center. The lecture will begin at 4 p.m.