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John Yoo

Lawyer / Political Figure

Born: 10 June 1967
Birthplace: Seoul, South Korea
Best known as: Creator of the "Yoo Doctrine" under President George W. Bush
The Washington Post has called legal scholar John Yoo "the intellectual architect of the most dramatic assertion of White House power since the Nixon era." Yoo was a member of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel early in the administration of President George W. Bush. After the terror attacks of 11 September 2001, Yoo wrote a series of legal opinions giving the president unusually wide-ranging powers in pursuing terrorists and the al-Qaeda organization of Osama bin Laden. Yoo asserted that the Geneva Conventions did not apply to suspects in the war on terror, that physically aggressive interrogation techniques were legal, and that the president had the right to order electronic eavesdropping on domestic phone calls without a warrant. These opinions became known collectively as the Yoo Doctrine. Critics accused Yoo of enabling torture and claiming unlimited powers for the president, charges which Yoo has denied. Yoo was born in South Korea, grew up in Philadelphia, and earned degrees from Harvard (1989) and Yale Law School (1992). After graduation he began teaching at the University of California at Berkeley, clerked for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas (1994-95), and became a favored legal philosopher in conservative circles. He was an advisor to George W. Bush's 2000 presidential campaign, and worked in the Justice Department from 2001 to 2003. In 2005 he published the book War, Peace, and the Constitution. After the presidency of George W. Bush, Yoo returned to teach at the law school at Berkeley.
Extra credit: John Yoo said in May of 2011 that President Barack Obama erred in the mission that killed Osama bin Laden, arguing the U.S. should have captured him instead... Yoo is no relation to film director John Woo... Yoo's birth information is listed in the reference book Who's Who as 10 June 1967 in Seoul, South Korea; many other sources state simply 1967 in South Korea.

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More on John Yoo from Infoplease:

  • John Yoo - Biography of John Yoo, Creator of the "Yoo Doctrine" under President George W. Bush
  • 2006 News of the Nation - 2006 News of the Nation —By Borgna Brunner (as of Sept. 28) Presidential Power and Terrorism ...
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