In a long-awaited report released this afternoon, the Obama Justice Department concluded that UC Berkeley law professor John Yoo exercised “poor judgment” when he authorized torture and warrantless wiretapping while working for the Bush administration. The newly released report was redrafted after it previously concluded that Yoo had engaged in “professional misconduct” and that he should be referred to the Pennsylvania bar, where he got his law license, for disciplinary proceedings. If the previous conclusion had been allowed to stand, then Yoo may have lost his law license, and ultimately, his tenured professorship at Berkeley.
In fact, a finding of “professional misconduct,” a legal term of art, may have been sufficient enough for UC Berkeley to terminate Yoo. Under university regulations, tenured professors can be fired for engaging in “professional misconduct.” The original report from the DOJ's Office of Professional Responsibility concluded that Yoo and his boss, federal judge Jay Bybee, failed to provide “thorough, candid, and objective” analysis in legal memos they supplied to President Bush, concerning the torture of terror suspects.
But in a 69-page subsequent report that overruled the original finding, career DOJ prosecutor David Margolis concluded that he did not agree with the "professional misconduct" finding, and instead substituted a lesser conclusion of "poor judgment," which will not result in a referral to the Pennsylvania bar.