John Yoo’s constitutional recommendations for California


By Steven T. Jones

Boalt Hall Law Professor John Yoo has been a lightning rod for criticism since returning to UC Berkeley from his stint in the Bush Administration, where he wrote the controversial legal memos justifying the torture of detainees and ignoring the Geneva Convention's rules of war, unconscionable justifications for abuse of power for which Yoo may still face professional or legal sanctions.

World Can’t Wait and other anti-war and human rights groups have called for Yoo’s disbarment and ouster, which university officials have resisted on the grounds of academic freedom. Activists plan to protest Yoo again on Jan. 12 when he begins teaching his latest class: “Constitutional Design and the California Constitution.”

That’s right, the legal mind that justified waterboarding and other torture techniques is teaching a class that “will examine the constitutional design issues in light of proposals to call a convention to reform the California constitution.” I can’t imagine what the unrepentant John Yoo might approve for the California Constitution....or maybe I can.