Reductio ad Absurdum

Via the King of Zembla:

Witness the following exchange, from a Dec. 1 debate between [UC Berkeley Professor John Yoo] and Doug Cassel, posted at Revolution Online:

CASSEL: If the president deems that he’s got to torture somebody, including by crushing the testicles of the person’s child, there is no law that can stop him?

YOO: No treaty.

CASSEL: Also no law by Congress — that is what you wrote in the August 2002 memo…

YOO: I think it depends on why the President thinks he needs to do that.

(If you doubt the authenticity of the exchange above, as you must if you are sane, streaming audio may be heard heard here; a longer version, including a six-minute Q&A session, is here.)

Let us pray this is a fake. [UPDATE 1/11/06: It might be.] Meanwhile, seems like a question to ask Alito. Surely he wouldn’t say this was something likely to come before the Court? Would he?

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2 Responses to Reductio ad Absurdum

  1. Joaquim Barbera says:

    Over at Opinio Iuris they reproduce the question (torture replaced by murder in the US) and Alito’s answer, plus some interesting comments by Roger Alford:

    http://lawofnations.blogspot.com/2006/01/alito-and-presidential-authority-under.html

  2. Half says:

    IANAL. But is Leahy’s really a parallel or equivalent question for purposes of understanding Alito?

    “Murder” was chosen by Leahy to keep a presumption of Constitutionality in the question, but to me it seems also to have the effect of taking interpretetive wiggle-room out as well, making it a softball for Alito. “Torture,” as we’ve come to understand, is viewed by the current executive as have having an extraordinary amount of such wiggle. “Did we ‘torture’ the child? No, we don’t think so. His organs still work. He’s alive. And we didn’t do it for the purpose of harming him, but for the purpose of learning what his dad knows.”

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