As law professor John Yoo walked into a lecture hall at the University of California at Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law on Monday morning, he was greeted not only by students enrolled in his class, but by protestors calling for his dismissal, disbarment and arrest. The demonstrators, dressed in orange prisoner suits and black hoods a la Abu Ghraib, chanted “war criminal” before acting out Yoo’s mock arrest. Yoo did not dignify their theatrics with a response, but simply waited for police to arrive.
The 42-year-old professor has already made his position abundantly clear. While serving as an attorney for the Bush administration from 2001 to 2003, Yoo wrote several memorandums on the legality of harsh interrogation techniques of suspected terrorists. “To limit the president’s constitutional power to protect the nation from foreign threats is simply foolhardy,” Yoo wrote just last month.
Yoo has been under fire since 2004, when his memos were made public. The Berkeley City Council called on the feds to prosecute him, and convicted terrorist Jose Padilla is suing him, claiming that Yoo’s legal opinions led to his “torture.”
Yet even Berkeley, a bastion of the wacko Left, remains divided. The dean of the University has refused to dismiss Yoo without further investigation into his government work (which is impossible because it’s classified). In addition, while some students are calling for Yoo to be tarred and feathered, others are supporting him, saying he should not be penalized for his political views. No doubt his reputation as a professor has helped: Yoo’s classes are consistently a favorite among Berkeley students.