Outrageous: Torture Lawyer John Yoo Gets a Column at the Philadelphia Inquirer

It was jarring enough (and more than a bit bizarre) to see the notorious John Yoo weigh in on the Obama administration's pick for a Supreme Court justice to replace David Souter, in the form of an op-ed this weekend in the Philadelphia Inquirer titled "Obama needs a neutral justice." A crass offensive on the notion of "judicial empathy," Yoo contrasted Obama's stated belief that "justice isn't about some abstract legal theory or footnote in a case book," but something that affects "the daily realities of people's lives" unfavorably to the judicial philosophies of conservative justices John Roberts or Samuel Alito.


"In his 2005 confirmation hearings, Roberts compared judges to neutral umpires in a baseball game," Yoo wrote. "Sen. Obama did not vote to confirm Roberts or Alito, but now proposes to appoint a Great Empathizer who will call balls and strikes with a strike zone that depends on the sex, race, and social and economic background of the players. Nothing could be more damaging to the fairness of the game, or to the idea of a rule of law that is blind to the identity of the parties before it."

Obnoxious, yes. Yet I kept reading Yoo's op-ed, at least until I reached that inevitable moment, the Wait, why am I even reading this? moment. The This is the scum whose enthusiasm for torture and zeal for unfettered executive power is so extreme, he once responded to the theoretical question "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?" with "I think it depends on why the President thinks he needs to do that" moment.

I stopped reading.

Now, this.

It appears the Philadelphia Inquirer has decided not just to run the occasional column by John Yoo, but is making him a full fledged columnist.

Needless to say, some people are unhappy. In a scathing piece yesterday, senior Philadelphia Daily News writer Will Bunch described his shock at the news that the lawyer whose name has become synonymous with torture is joining the ranks.

He wrote:

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

Close
alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.