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.
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.