Dear Mr. Yoo:
Commenting on your advising President Bush to direct NSA surveilance without warrents from FISA courts Peter Slevin of the Washington Post quotes you as saying,"It would be inappropriate for a lawyer to say, 'The law means A, but I'm going to say B because to interpret it as A would violate American values. A lawyer's job is if the law says A, the law says A."
I believe Slevin has exposed a slight but indeed very consequential flaw in your thinking. Let's hope this is just a onetime occurence for you or maybe you've been misquoted but it seems to me that you failed to properly portray our system of government with its three branches marvelously allowing even lawyers to say whatever they want about laws and American values because we ultimately rely on judges - not lawyers -- "to say, 'The law means A . . . "
Maybe next time you could advise the President to rely on a judge -- like FISA intends -- instead of a lawyer, or even a bright legal scholar such as yourself. That should offer us all some protection from the slight but consequential flaw in your thinking.
The Episcopal Center @ UGA
PS: Thanks to Truthout.org for citing Slevin's article
Scholar Stands by Post-9/11 Writings On Torture, Domestic Eavesdropping
Former Justice Official Says He Was Interpreting Law, Not Making Policy
By Peter Slevin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, December 26, 2005; Page A0