Bryan Fischer Award Nominee: John Yoo

The Bryan Fischer Award is given to those who show a staggering lack of self-awareness, accusing their political opponents of their own worst sins and ignoring their own contradictions. John Yoo is practically the living embodiment of the award and he displays it while declaring that the Hobby Lobby case demonstrates Obama’s “fundamental abuse of executive power.”

But more important, this case shows the extreme ideological ends pursued by the Obama administration through its legal powers, and so is of a piece with the Noel Canning recess appointments clause case of last Thursday. In both cases, the president pursued extreme arguments in court to advance an ideological agenda — today, it was to sweep religious minorities into Obamacare; on Thursday, to create a union-friendly NLRB…

To me, that is Obama’s fundamental abuse of presidential power. He is not broadly interpreting his powers to respond to emergencies or national-security challenges. He is relying on extreme interpretations of his powers to play small-ball politics and win for ideological supporters. It is not only a misuse of power, but it damages the institution of the presidency for times when it will really matter.

Jesus. The guy has balls the size of Mt. Everest. This is the guy, after all, who wrote the famous “torture memos” at the DOJ during the Bush administration, arguing that the president’s power is “without limit save for impeachment itself” and that it is “unlawful for any member of the United States armed forces to disobey a presidential order to torture prisoners.” He gave the president the authority to flagrantly violate both U.S. domestic statutory law but also our treaty obligations.

It was only three years earlier that Yoo had written an essay complaining that President Clinton was not following an aggressive enough foreign policy, which was going to “undermine democratic accountability and respect for the rule of law.” And then he spent his entire time at the DOJ destroying the rule of law and justifying unlimited executive power as long as the president said the magic words: “national security.” He even famously said that the president could order that the testicles of a child be crushed to get his father to give up information he might have.

Hypocrisy, thy name is John Yoo.

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  • eric

    Its not hypocrisy, it’s pretty consistent hawkish conservativism. The President has unlimited power to prosecute wars including torturing people, but no power at all to provide health care to citizens because OMG states rights.

  • Modusoperandi

    To be fair, crushing Yoo’s testicles would meet the standards of both him and contraception coverage.

  • frankb

    Modus, your arguments are very persuasive.

  • =8)-DX

    But if only Obama *would* torture more brown people! That’s a real state interest, not petty politics! More bombing and invading countries Obama!

    Wait, he’s already being doing quite a bit of bombing. Where’s his conservative kudos for that, I’d like to know!

  • Area Man

    Should we even bother noting the hypocrisy of a Republican accusing the president of being ideological?

  • Michael Heath

    Ed writes:

    The guy has balls the size of Mt. Everest.

    Or, the emotional intelligence of an amoeba.

  • lorn

    There is, of course, the financial aspect and revealing internal consistency.

    There are billions to be made in profits to be made screwing over citizens selling them useless health insurance policies. Not so much if the law demands citizens get something of value for their money.

    There are also profits, literal billions, to be made disappearing and torturing people, private contractors add another level of plausible deniability and their records are far harder to obtain, while stopping the practice interferes with the enterprise.

    Similarly, he objects to the recess appointment to the NLRB because the NLRB is a regulator agency specifically tasked with interfering with what business want to do. Specifically, screwing over employees.

    The Hobby Lobby case raises his ire because, again, the rule interferes with the businesses ability to do as it will. Screwing over employees, again.

    When considering the actions and motivations of conservatives it always pays to consider simple financial interest, and a desire to allow capital to have absolute freedom, as a motive.

  • Loqi

    “Sweep religious minorities into Obamacare?” Yeah, Christians are a religious minority.