AG Report: John Yoo May Lose Law License



An internal probe by the US Justice Department concludes that UC Berkeley law school professor John Yoo should not be prosecuted for war crimes, but might face legal disciplinary hearings that could result in disbarment, according to the Los Angeles Times. The 5-year-old probe's conclusions were expected. Reports about the probe, which began under the Bush administration, have circulated for months that it would find Yoo had acted unethically when he authorized torture but not illegally. The report, however, has not been finalized or approved by Attorney General Eric Holder.

According to the Times, the internal probe by the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility also concludes that federal appellate court Judge Jay Bybee should face legal disciplinary proceedings that could result in him losing his law license as well. Bybee serves in the federal Ninth Circuit Court and his courtroom is in Las Vegas. He was Yoo's boss in the Bush Justice Department, and signed the first torture memo that Yoo wrote in August 2002.

If Holder ultimately approves the report, it likely will be sent to state bar associations for determination of whether legal disciplinary proceedings should commence against Yoo and Bybee. Yoo obtained his law license from the Pennsylvania state bar. If the tenured law professor is disbarred or his law license is suspended it will place significant pressure on UC Berkeley to fire him. To date, university officials have maintained that Yoo's work for the Bush administration was protected by academic freedom.