A Boalt new adventure in Stalinism

Here is the rather chilling story of how law students at the University of California’s Boalt Hall School of Law circulated a petition demanding that professor John Yoo either “repudiate” a memo he wrote at the Department of Justice or resign from his academic post. The Yoo memo advised the Bush administration (correctly in my view) that the Geneva conventions did not apply to al Qaeda and Taliban fighters in Afghanistan.
The story doesn’t say how many of these future lawyers (and law school profs and administrators) signed the petition, but it notes that more than 25 percent of the students who attended Boalt’s commencement celebration wore armbands protesting Yoo’s “aiding and abetting war crimes.” Of course, wearing such an armband is not the same thing as demanding that someone resign from a college faculty due to an opinion expressed in a legal memorandum. But one wonders how many of the armband wearers were able to distinguish between a legitimate form of protest (wearing the armband) and a Stalinist-style assault on academic freedom (the petition). Boalt being an elite law school, I doubt that many were.

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