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Worst American Birthdays, vol. 50

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John Yoo and his uncrushed testicles turned 42 years old today.

Because John Yoo is not, in fact, a conservative at all, he seems unbothered by the fact that his government managed to sustain itself for well over two centuries without relying on the insane legal yodeling for which he’ll forever be remembered. As one of the architects of the previous administration’s “theory of presidential dictatorship”, Yoo developed the uniquely indecent claim that the US Constitution was written with a notion to immunize the executive branch from legislative or judicial constraints during a time of war, the definition and duration of which was limited only by the discretion of the executive branch itself. Believing, furthermore, that international laws governing torture are subordinate to US law (and to the extremely narrow definition of “severe pain” espoused by the OLC), Yoo provided cover to the Bush administration as it turned the US into the world’s most sophisticated torture state. His memos and other public statements have proven at least as disgraceful as the conduct they helped authorize.

While John Yoo’s fantasies of unstrapped executive power are of the sort that inspire nocturnal emissions from the likes of Dick Cheney, they have been properly rejected by nearly everyone else, including the more capable legal minds who succeeded him and his fellow torture apologists after they departed the OLC. In a respectable world, Yoo’s disdain for the rule of law would have brought about genuinely unpleasant consequences for him; we can take some minor comfort, perhaps, in knowing that John Yoo will have to be somewhat careful about where he travels, lest he find himself snared by some of the laws he detests so vigorously.

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