Political Correction

John Yoo Accuses President Obama Of Abusing Power But Says GOP Presidents Should Defy Supreme Court Decisions

January 10, 2012 12:34 pm ET - by Jamison Foser

John YooMother Jones' Adam Serwer explains the absurdity of former Bush administration lawyer John Yoo criticizing President Obama's recess appointment of Richard Cordray to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau:

John Yoo, the former attorney with the Bush-era Office of Legal Counsel who suggested the president could order a child's testicles crushed, massacre a village of civilians or unilaterally suspend free speech in the event of a terrorist attack, also fears for the future of the republic if the president is able to bypass Senate procedural gimmicks meant to block recess appointments. At National Review, Yoo attacks Obama for his "abuse" of executive power in appointing Richard Cordray to head the CFPB.

But just in case it wasn't already clear that he's the wrong person to accuse anyone of abuse of power, Yoo offers a reminder, writing that future Republican presidents should ignore Supreme Court decisions they don't like:

Borrowing from the wisdom of George Costanza, a Republican president should say to the courts: It's not you, it's me. Instead of tinkering with the judiciary, conservatives should seek to restore the role of the presidency by using its unique powers to define the Constitution. A Republican president, for example, could order prosecutors to stop enforcing unconstitutional laws that violate federalism, separation of powers, or individual rights. [...]

Under rare circumstances, a Republican president could even refuse to obey a Supreme Court decision. ... Of course, presidents should make clear that this extreme measure would be taken only in times of the direst emergency.

To sum up: John Yoo thinks presidents should be able to order the crushing of a child's testicles and ignore Supreme Court decisions, but it's an abuse of power to conclude that when senators are not in town and the Senate isn't conducting business, the Senate is in recess.

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