John Yoo

Visiting Fellow

John Yoo is a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution, professor of law at the University of California at Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall), and a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. From 2001 to 2003 he served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Council in the Justice Department of President George W. Bush. Professor Yoo is the author of a number of books, most recently of Crisis and Command: A History of Executive Power, From George Washington to George W. Bush.

John Yoo co-hosts the Pacific Century podcast with Michael Auslin, where they broadly address developments in China and Asia. They discuss the latest politics, economics, law, and cultural news, with a focus on US policy in the region.

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Recent Commentary

Analysis and Commentary

The Second(-Class) Amendment

by John Yoo, James C. Phillipsvia National Review
Monday, November 19, 2018

If liberals should fear the great contradiction between the Constitution’s text and their elevation of an unenumerated right to privacy (as we argued in our last article), conservatives must confront the same challenge with gun ownership. Despite the text of the Second Amendment, supporters of a right to bear arms have rooted their arguments in a murky pre-constitutional right to self-defense. 

Analysis and Commentary

Whitaker’s Appointment Is Unconstitutional

by John Yoovia Atlantic
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Trump’s acting attorney general can’t legally hold the office—and that’s a problem for everyone.


Mr. President, Don’t Fire Mueller – It Will Hurt You And America

by Robert J. Delahunty, John Yoovia Fox News
Saturday, November 10, 2018

Now that he’s fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions, there’s speculation that President Trump will ask his newly appointed acting attorney general to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller in order to end Mueller’s probe of Russian interference in our 2016 presidential election and possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.

Analysis and Commentary

The New Supreme Court And Privacy Jurisprudence

by John Yoo, James C. Phillipsvia National Review
Thursday, November 8, 2018

This week’s election results suggest that Justice Brett Kavanaugh allowed Republicans to defy a Democratic blue wave and keep the Senate. Democratic senators in North Dakota, Indiana, and Missouri who voted against his confirmation lost their reelection bids by large margins, while the sole Democrat who voted for him held on in West Virginia. But Kavanaugh’s confirmation fight will have effects far beyond the elections to the core issues that are driving division between the parties: abortion, gay marriage, and privacy.


Settled Law: Birthright Citizenship And The 14th Amendment

by John Yoovia The American Mind
Friday, November 2, 2018
The 14th Amendment settled the question of birthright citizenship.

Trump Is Wrong To Want To End Birthright Citizenship – Conservatives Should Preserve It

by John Yoovia Fox News
Wednesday, October 31, 2018

President Trump threatened Tuesday to unilaterally end the right of some people born on American soil to automatic U.S. citizenship, known as birthright citizenship. “It was always told to me that you needed a constitutional amendment,” to end birthright citizenship, the president said. “Guess what? You don’t.”

Settled Law: Birthright Citizenship and the 14th Amendment

by John Yoovia The American Mind
Wednesday, October 31, 2018

President Donald Trump’s call to end birthright citizenship has sparked a national debate. Within the Republican party, leading voices differ on the legitimacy of citizenship as a birthright. While some embrace the traditional view that the Constitution bestows citizenship on any citizen born on U.S. territory, others agree with Trump that the Constitution permits Congress to decide on citizenship for those not born to U.S. citizens. Alternatively, some acknowledge birthright citizenship, but seek a constitutional amendment to abolish it.


With Kavanaugh, The Court Should Tame The Administrative State

by John Yoo, James C. Phillipsvia The National Review
Thursday, October 25, 2018

This is an area he specializes in, and an issue whose time has come.

Analysis and Commentary

A Clash Of Judicial Visions

by John Yoo, James C. Phillipsvia The National Review
Friday, October 19, 2018

Defining the proper role of the Supreme Court in our constitutional system.


American Wonk: John Yoo On Harvard’s Anti-Asian Discrimination

interview with John Yoovia Ricochet
Thursday, October 18, 2018

Hoover Institution fellow John Yoo discusses the legal complaint against Harvard, alleging that Harvard systematically discriminates against Asian-Americans.