Marty Lederman is flummoxed:
Balkinization: There's a UC Berkeley alum in my household, and so we're frequently inundated with promotional materials from the University. Last week we received the latest issue of The Promise of Berkeley, a big glossy production designed to tout the accomplishments of members of the University community. The Spring issue includes a piece promoting the close connections between Cal Berkeley and the U.S. government here in D.C. "A number of Berkeley's faculty have held positions in past presidential administrations or worked closely with presidential candidates," it boasts. And so the Promise of Berkeley asked six faculty members -- "three from each side of the aisle" -- to "reflect on their time in Washington, what's at stake in the 2008 presidential election, and what Berkeley means to them."
The Dems profiled are, not surprisingly, Chris Edley, Bob Reich and Janet Yellen.
The editors apparently had a more difficult time finding prominent Republican officials on their faculty: The chose Dan Schnur (a Poli Sci lecturer who worked on McCain's 2000 primary campaign), Sandy Muir (a speechwriter for Bush 41), and, you guessed it . . . John Yoo.
Now, it's one thing to decide not to challenge a tenured professor's job security, notwithstanding substantial evidence that he facilitated war crimes (a decision of Chris Edley's that I supported here). But it's quite another to give that faculty member pride of place -- because of his government service -- in a publication intended to encourage alumni contributions by stressing the laudable public service of one's faculty members. Did the editors of The Promise of Berkeley really think that including John Yoo in their brochure would result in more robust alumni donations? My sense is that this is tone-deafness of a very high order -- but what do I know?
In any event, the editors asked John whether he would consider another stint in Washington, and this was his response:
Public service is an important responsibility, especially for those of us who are members of a public university. Moving to Washington for a few years can be very disruptive to a professor’s research plans and personal life. But I think that it is important we make a contribution when our government calls. Personally, I would not want to hold again any of the jobs that I have held, not because I disliked them, but because it would feel like watching the same movie again.