Constitutional Law Scholar

Constitutional Law Scholar

John Yoo

9.17.2007

John Yoo

One of the leading conservative foreign policy minds in the country, John Yoo is a law professor at the University of California, Berkley, and visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. As a deputy assistant to then-Attorney General John Ashcroft from 2001 to 2003, Yoo authored a number of legal memos arguing for unlimited presidential powers to order torture of captive suspects. Often called the "torture memos," these documents shaped Bush Administration policy for interrogating prisoners in the War on Terror and made arguments to protect officials from war crimes charges under the Geneva Conventions.

John Yoo, Cal-Berkley law professor and former deputy assistant to then-Attorney General John Ashcroft, discusses his role in constructing Bush Administration legal policy in the War on Terror. Yoo’s public Clinton School speech is entitled, “Presidential Power in a Time of Crisis,” draws heavily from his 2006 book, “War by Other Means: An Insider's Account of the War on Terrorism.” Yoo argues for an expansive view of presidential power. He says expansive executive power is justified in the wake of a terrorist attack because of the nature of the emergency situation. As commander in chief, the president is ultimately responsible for defending the nation and needs all the power necessary to do so, Yoo says.