The Limits of Executive Power: John Yoo, Torture, and President Trump

March 10, 2017

215 Bancroft Way, Boalt Room 100, Berkeley, CA 94720 Professor Marjorie Cohn Introduced by Brad Adams of Human Rights Watch

John Yoo championed the “unitary executive,” a theory of expansive presidential power, where, he wrote, “The centralization of authority in the president alone is particularly crucial in matters of national defense, war, and foreign policy.” Yoo authored the Torture Memos that advised Bush how he could illegally torture people and escape accountability. But two weeks after Trump took office, Yoo wrote an oped in the New York Times titled "Executive Power Run Amok."

Marjorie Cohn is professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, former president of the National Lawyers Guild and deputy secretary general of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers. She testified in 2008 about the U.S. government interrogation policy before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. Her books include “The United States and Torture: Interrogation, Incarceration, and Abuse;” “Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law” and “Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral, and Geopolitical Issues.” .

Brad Adams is the executive director of the Asian division of Human Rights Watch and has been in the position since 2002. Adams worked in Cambodia or five years prior to his work at Human Rights Watch, he was the senior lawyer for the Cambodia field office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. He also worked as the legal advisor to the Cambodian parliament's human rights committee.

Co-Sponsored by the National Lawyers Guild - San Francisco, Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC); American Constitutional Society (ACS) - UC Berkeley; Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Asian Law Caucus; Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) - SF Chapter; Equal Justice Society (EJS); Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) - UC Berkeley; Transgender, Gender-Variant and Intersex Justice Project (TGIJP)