Barack Obama gives Richard Cordray a recess appointment to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and discoverer of imaginary Constitutional do’s & dont’s John Yoo is all, “Hey! Not cool!“:
Some think me a zealous advocate of executive power, and often I am when it comes to national security issues. But I think President Obama has exceeded his powers by making a recess appointment for Richard Cordray (whom I respect and have no problems with as a nominee) to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Any private party can challenge this nomination by refusing to obey any regulation issued by the agency as the act of an unconstitutional officer. As a result, this may be the first time that Richard Epstein and I get to represent someone in court together!
This came out in response to a question in a December 1st debate in Chicago with Notre Dame professor and international human rights scholar Doug Cassel.
What is particularly chilling and revealing about this is that John Yoo was a key architect post-9/11 Bush Administration legal policy. As a deputy assistant to then-Attorney General John Ashcroft, John Yoo authored a number of legal memos arguing for unlimited presidential powers to order torture of captive suspects, and to declare war anytime, any where, and on anyone the President deemed a threat.
It has now come out Yoo also had a hand in providing legal reasoning for the President to conduct unauthorized wiretaps of U.S. citizens. Georgetown Law Professor David Cole wrote, “Few lawyers have had more influence on President Bush’s legal policies in the ‘war on terror’ than John Yoo.”
This part of the exchange during the debate with Doug Cassel, reveals the logic of Yoo’s theories, adopted by the Administration as bedrock principles, in the real world.
Cassel: If the President deems that he’s got to torture somebody, including by crushing the testicles of the person’s child, there is no law that can stop him?
Yoo: No treaty.
Cassel: Also no law by Congress. That is what you wrote in the August 2002 memo.
Yoo: I think it depends on why the President thinks he needs to do that.
Perhaps Richard Cordray will agree to only go after Muslim businesses; like crushing Hamid Jr.’s testicles with some vise grips because his dad’s falafel stand was a little skimpy with the hummus, in which case Yoo would probably be able to discover some hither-to unknown codicil attached to the back of the actual Constitution with a Post-It note that says, “Seriously, you guys. Use your best judgement. ;)”.