February 15, 2016

Today is the day when every single Republican and former Bush administration official trots themselves out to cable TV to explain why or why not Republican obstruction of the President's upcoming Supreme Court nomination should be obstructed.

However, the one person I did not expect to see -- and especially on MSNBC -- is John Yoo, king of the torture memo, who thinks it's perfectly fine to waterboard people and crush children's testicles.

Remember this?

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.

Now Yoo is arguing that Republicans should crush the President's balls by demanding that he choose to shirk his duty and fail to nominate a successor to Justice Antonin Scalia.

"President Obama can nominate someone," Yoo allowed, "but the Constitution vests the power to complete it in both the President and the Senate."

Oh, look. It's the guy who thinks torture is constitutional arguing about the Constitution.

"The Constitution doesn't say anywhere that the Senate has to give [advise and consent], and in fact I think if you look at the Federalist Papers about that...[the writers] expected the Senate to use its constitutional powers to fight and struggle with the President."

"The Senate has no duty at all to confirm, vote up, vote down, or confirm anybody. In fact, the framers wanted the Senate, if they disagreed with the President's constitutional views on many matters, as the majority does on things like immigration, it actually should vote not to confirm anybody until the next election, which is just in a few months."

Oh my, what a high horse he's riding there. One of the primary proponents of expanded executive power is now arguing for limited executive power when his guy isn't in office.

How principled of him.

Here was John Yoo writing for the Washington Post in 2005 just after John Roberts was nominated to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court:

It should be clear by now that Senate Democrats' efforts to use the filibuster to block Bush's nominees have failed. The nominations deal made by 14 senators has allowed most of Bush's blocked nominees to get a floor vote, and has not succeeded in persuading Republicans to nominate judges more acceptable to Democrats. Republicans will almost certainly use the option of changing the Senate rules to prohibit filibusters for judicial nominees if Democrats choose to block Roberts. Rather than mounting an ultimately futile attack on Roberts as a right-wing ideologue, Senate Democrats have a chance to return to the standard of confirming nominees with the highest professional qualifications and sound judgment. Or they can try to block Roberts, and give Senate Republicans the ground to block the next Ruth Bader Ginsburg or Stephen G. Breyer.

There was a time in my life where I considered going to law school, but a beloved and much-respected relative of mine cautioned me to reconsider, saying that you lose your soul when you don't have to believe anything as long as you can make an argument for or against it. I'm still grateful for that advice, and John Yoo represents the epitome of self-serving unprincipled partisanship.

Shame on MSNBC for promoting him.

(h/t C&Ler Kreskin)

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