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Menzie Chinn Joins Me in Our Failed Search for Crowding Out

Berkeley Needs to Dismiss John Yoo

For his appearance on KQED this morning, and for many other reasons.

Ian Millhiser:

Think Progress: Yoo: Congress Cannot Stop the President From Using Nukes: Today, Yoo doubled-down... in an interview with San Francisco radio station KQED. After the host asked him if he stands by his prior support of Presidential massacres, Yoo raised the stakes to endorse the President’s unilateral authority to use nuclear weapons: 

Look at the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. … Could Congress tell President Truman that he couldn’t use a nuclear bomb in Japan, even though Truman thought in good faith he was saving millions of Americans and Japanese lives? … My only point is that the government places those decisions in the President, and if the Congress doesn’t like it they can cut off funds for it or they can impeach him....

Yoo misrepresents.... As far back as 1804, a unanimous Supreme Court held in Little v. Barreme that Congress has sweeping authority to limit the President’s actions in wartime. That case involved an Act of Congress authorizing vessels to seize cargo ships bound for French ports. After the President also authorized vessels to seize ships headed away from French ports, the Supreme Court held this authorization unconstitutional on the grounds that Congress’ decision to allow one kind of seizure implicitly forbade other kinds of seizure. More recently, in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld and Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, the Court held that the President does not have the power to unilaterally set military policy (in those cases with respect to detention); he must comply with statutory limits on his power.... Congress has the power to tell the President “no,” and the President must listen.

John Yoo is a moral vacuum, but he is also a constitutional law professor at one of the nation’s top law schools and a former Supreme Court clerk. It is simply impossible that Yoo is not aware of Little, Hamdi and Hamdan, or that he does not understand what they say. So when John Yoo claims that the President is not bound by Congressional limits, he... is lying.