The Yoo/Chertoff/Ashcroft Memo?

The Yoo/Chertoff/Ashcroft Memo?

Slate's blog on legal issues.
April 2 2008 7:07 PM

The Yoo/Chertoff/Ashcroft Memo?

I've now completed reading the March 14th OLC opinion . As you might expect, there is a great deal within it that warrants very careful attention and analysis. There is nothing like it in our long legal history, as far as I know. After all, how often is it that a Department of Justice memo is issued that matter-of-factly argues that the commander in chief can authorize pouring corrosive acid on a detainee can authorize cutting out a tongue and poking out an eye nothwithstanding a statute that would prohibit that very conduct?

I think what I'll do is to publish a series of numbered posts (this is No. 4 N umbers 1-3 are at Balkinization ), each centering on a discrete topic or portion of the memo. My reactions must, of course, be tentative and preliminary: I have not yet had the time to research most of these questions or to give them the attention (some of them) might deserve. But I hope that by the end of the endeavor, we'll be able to see clearly just how radical and extraordinary this memo was.

Before I start in on the memo itself, however, I'll begin with a handful of posts about process and ramifications rather than the specific substantive issues raised.

Marty Lederman teaches constitutional law at the Georgetown University Law Center. He was deputy assistant attorney general in the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel 2009-10 and an attorney advisor in OLC 1994-2002. He has been a regular contributor to several legal blogs, including Just Security, Balkinization, and SCOTUSblog.