John Yoo

Visiting Fellow
Biography: 

John Yoo is a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution, Emanuel S. Heller Professor of Law at the University of California–Berkeley School of Law, and a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. His most recent book is Defender in Chief: Donald Trump’s Fight for Presidential Power (St. Martin’s 2020).

Yoo has served in all three branches of government. He was an official in the US Department of Justice, where he worked on national security and terrorism issues after the September 11 attacks. He served as general counsel of the US Senate Judiciary Committee under its chairman, Orrin Hatch of Utah. And he has been a law clerk for Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas and US Court of Appeals judge Laurence Silberman.  

He held the Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Law at the University of Trento in Italy, and he has also been a visiting professor at Keio Law School in Japan, Seoul National University in Korea, Chapman Law School, the University of Chicago, and the Free University of Amsterdam. Professor Yoo also has received the Paul M. Bator Award for excellence in legal scholarship and teaching from the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy.

Yoo is the author of a number of books: Striking Power: How Cyber, Robots, and Space Weapons Change the Rules for War(2017); Point of Attack (2014)Taming Globalization (2012); Crisis and Command (2010)War by Other Means (2016); and The Powers of War and Peace (2005). He has co-edited three other books, most recently Liberty’s Nemesis: The Unchecked Expansion of the State (2016) (with Dean Reuter).

Professor Yoo received his B.A., summa cum laude, in American history from Harvard University. Between college and law school, he worked as a newspaper reporter in Washington, D.C. He received his J.D. from Yale Law School, where he was an articles editor of the Yale Law Journal.

John Yoo co-hosts the Pacific Century podcast with Michael Auslin, broadly addressing developments in China and Asia. They discuss the latest politics, economics, law, and cultural news, with a focus on US policy in the region. He also co-hosts LawTalk with Richard Epstein and Troy Senik, discussing the latest developments in law and politics.

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John Yoo

Crisis and Command with John Yoo

by Peter M. Robinsonwith John Yoovia Uncommon Knowledge
Tuesday, January 19, 2010

John Yoo, who played a significant role in developing a legal justification for the Bush administration’s policy in the War on Terror, reflects on the controversial legal and policy positions taken by the Bush administration on interrogating captured terrorists after 9/11.

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Sending a Message

by John Yoovia Hoover Digest
Monday, October 30, 2006

With a new law on military commissions, Congress sent the Supreme Court a message, loud and clear: Get out of the war on terror. By John Yoo.

John Yoo

The Constitution and the War

by Peter M. Robinsonwith Richard A. Epstein, John Yoovia Uncommon Knowledge
Sunday, October 29, 2006

Where should we draw the line between civil liberties and national security in the “war on terror”? Are we even at war, and if so, what are the constitutional limits to presidential war powers? Has the Bush administration gone too far in the electronic surveillance of citizens and the coercive interrogation of suspected terrorists and enemy combatants? Richard Epstein and John Yoo, both widely regarded as strict constitutional constructionists, take decidedly different positions on these questions. (41:26) Video transcript

HOLDING COURT: The Legacy of the Rehnquist Court

with Kathleen Sullivan, John Yoovia Uncommon Knowledge
Thursday, May 26, 2005

William H. Rehnquist has served as chief justice of the United States Supreme Court for nineteen years, the longest tenure of a chief justice in a century. How has the Rehnquist Court responded to the key constitutional issues of our times? What will be the philosophical legacy of the man himself? And who will miss him more, liberals or conservatives? Peter Robinson speaks with Kathleen Sullivan and John Yoo.

GIVE ME CIVIL LIBERTIES OR GIVE ME...SAFETY? Should the Patriot Act Be Renewed?

with Jenny Martinez, John Yoovia Uncommon Knowledge
Friday, February 11, 2005

In late 2001, in response to the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the Bush administration proposed the USA Patriot Act, which gave law enforcement agencies expanded surveillance and intelligence-gathering powers. Congress overwhelmingly approved the Patriot Act on the condition that most provisions of the act would expire in 2005. President Bush now wants all provisions of the act extended. Should they be? Or are the provisions dangerous and unnecessary infringements on our civil liberties? Peter Robinson speaks with Jenny Martinez and John Yoo.

DOWN BY LAW: Military Detainees in the War on Terror

with Erwin Chemerinsky, John Yoovia Uncommon Knowledge
Friday, February 20, 2004

Do enemy combatants in the war on terror have any legal rights? The United States now holds more than 650 persons captured during the war on terrorism at our naval base in Guantanamo, Cuba. The government is holding them indefinitely, without charging them and without offering them access to American courts or legal counsel. Is this legal? Do federal courts have jurisdiction in this matter, or do these detainees exist completely outside of the American legal system?

WHAT'S HATE GOT TO DO WITH IT? Hate Crime Statutes

with Pamela S. Karlan, Brian Levin, John Yoovia Uncommon Knowledge
Thursday, September 2, 1999

Are hate crimes more serious than other crimes, requiring greater penalties, or are laws against them an unnecessary addition to the criminal code? Does hate crime legislation infringe on freedom of speech? Should congress extend hate crime statutes to cover more groups or should the federal government leave the issue up to the states?

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