Chasers War on Everything is a very funny, biting, satirical Australian TV show. Here's their take on John Yoo (Torture Lawyer) teaching at Berkeley law.
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by Michael Froomkin
Laurie Silvers & Mitchell Rubenstein Distinguished Professor of Law
University of Miami School of Law
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I am no fan of the Bush administration or of the “enhanced interrogation” justified by Yoo. However, I find the stunt to have been in poor taste and disrespectful of the students in the class. Those kids are there to learn from one of the top lawyers in the country. Those baboons staging that little protest had ample time and opportunity to protest somewhere else that did not interfere with the students’ time.
To short circuit the argument that a classroom is a good place for such discussions, I agree. However, there is a right way and a wrong way to do it. Encouraging discussion in the classroom is good. Staging a stunt that disrupts class and limits students’ time before John Yoo is the wrong way to do it.
It depends if it was a student or an interloper. I don’t have a problem with a student in the class demonstrating — at the end of class.
But for outsiders, I think bearing silent witness outside the class door would be a lot better.
There is nothing sacred about a classroom that should afford Woo sanctuary from this sort of mockery.
His erstwhile students probably learned more from that stunt than from that miserable excuse for a human being. And if they learn nothing else, they should learn that open contempt is the proper respect due to a lickspittle sociopath like Woo.
This was an excellent example of free speech in the classroom. No student in that class will suffer because of what they witnessed. It does however show Yoo in a poor light. Mr. Yoo decides to cut and run when confronted with his sorted decisions as part of the Bush adminisration. He cannot defend his statements authorizing torture.
The students signed up for a law class from an unindicted war criminal. Why should they deserve sympathy? If someone decides to pay $40,000 a year to listen to lectures on constitutional law from an active enabler of torture then that is their funeral.
The problem is the fact that he was an accomplice to torture. It is not a freedom of speech issue.
Yoo advanced a very particular and a most peculiar theory that the constitution has absolutely no checks or balances on the power of the President. To choose him as a teacher of constitutional law is a very strange choice to say the least.
In this case the demonstration was by an Australian satirical program. They made a point that could not have been made any other way – when challenged, Yoo simply could not face the consequences of his actions, the same actions that he has been trying to provide abstract justification for in his op-eds.
I pay to take classes at UC. It’s expensive! When people do stuff like this, it wastes the money the students pay.
A class room is not a public space, it’s a space reserved for the people in the class. If you want to exercise your right to free speech, then do it in a public space. (No UC class rooms are not public space just because it’s a state university.)
Anyhow, this was for a TV show, it was for profit. Some guy came into a class room and disrupted it for ratings on his TV show. I think he should have been arrested for trespassing and disorderly conduct.
The show is on the ABC network- Australian Broadcasting Corporation, which is state-funded and not for profit. I’m sure all of the innocent people tortured because of Yoo’s ideas would be equally traumatised by the fact that Preppy missed three minutes of class time.
“I pay to take classes at UC. It’s expensive!
When people do stuff like this, it wastes the money the students pay”
I agree, and since we are at it, imagine how much more expensive would be to take classes
from Goebbels, or even from Vlad, the Impaler! That surely will be a good use of your time.
After all, you pay MONEY, which is a god-like word in your fucked up country.
Keep learning like this and in no time you will be smarter than tomorrow and only a little
bit more stupid than yesterday. In your case, it doesn’t really matters.