April 14, 2008

DALE CARPENTER DEFENDS JOHN YOO from something that looks very much like a witch hunt. (Funny how those are increasingly carried out in the name of “human rights.”) So does Brian Leiter. (“Are we really to believe–fifty years after the McCarthyist witch hunts!–that academics should be punished because their bad ideas are then used by bad people to do bad things?”) Who can stand against the wind that will blow if that becomes the rule . . . .?

At any rate, the likely consequence of such witch hunts is to discourage law professors from taking jobs in the government, thus increasing the legal academy’s already considerable self-marginalization. Some, I suppose, will say that’s not a bug, but a feature. Rest assured, however, that members of any future Democratic administration will not escape, now that this precedent has been established. Who knows who else might someday be persecuted for proposing theories of aggrandized executive power?

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