Friends, Romans, clowns

I attended the two debates sponsored by the Federalist Society in Minneapolis today. In the first debate at the University of St. Thomas Law School (where I’m an adjunct professor), John Yoo debated University of Minnesota Law School Professor Michael Paulsen on the constitutional warmaking power. In the second debate at the University of Minnesota Law School, Yoo debated William Mitchell College of Law Professor John Radsen on the law applicable to the war on terror.

Both debates were the occasion of great consternation among the denizens of the leftover left in the Twin Cities. They purport to believe that Professor Yoo is an advocate of torture responsible for all abuses that have occurred under our auspices. For a flavor of their efforts to read Professor Yoo and others outside the bounds of civilized discourse, see Katherine Kersten’s excellent column in tomorrow’s Star Tribune: “Getting terrorists to talk a new challenge.”

At both events, left-wing nuts showed up in orange jumpsuits simulating the horrors of terrorist detention at Guantanamo. At the University of Minnesota event this evening, the jumpsuit folks were supplemented by a stream of disruptors who were escorted outside by the campus police. Their supporters in the audience cleverly chanted “Shame on Yoo” as they were taken from the auditorium — it was not an edifyng spectacle.

The debates, however, were absolutely superb, and Professor Yoo’s every word belied the idiotic abuse hurled his way. Though they will never know it, Professor Yoo’s high-minded tormentors disgraced themselves and their cause, whatever the hell it is.


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