The Mother of All Torture Memos

Slate's blog on legal issues.
April 1 2008 6:18 PM

The Mother of All Torture Memos

Over at Balkinization, Marty Lederman discusses the revelation of the previously secret March 14, 2003, memo by John Yoo that extends the theory of the 2002 torture memo (which sought to excuse the CIA) to the military's operations. Pages 18 and 19 of this memo make the now-familiar and infamous argument that the torture statute would be unconstitutional as applied to the president acting in his capacity as commander in chief. As Marty explains, this memo " effectively gave the Pentagon the green light to disregard statutory limits on torture, cruelty and maltreatment in the treatment of detainees. " If you want evidence of how the law was badly twisted and misused in the Bush Justice Department, you need look no further than here.

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Jack M. Balkin is Knight professor of constitutional law and the First Amendment at Yale Law School.

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