STORIES

The Bush Official Who Justified Torture Draws the Line at Prohibition

By David Jenison on March 6, 2019

John C. Yoo, a former Justice Department official, is notorious for authoring the memos that justified torture during the George W. Bush administration. Yoo, who is now a law professor at UC-Berkeley, thought torture was acceptable during Operation Enduring Freedom, but he apparently draws the line at cannabis prohibition.

Late last month, Yoo and David French (National Review) took part in a teleforum for Federalist Society members that discussed the presidential use of emergency power, and he argued that any president could immediately end the war on drugs.

“The right thing to do as an attorney general or president is to order the withdrawal of all federal law enforcement from those states that have legalized the sale of marijuana,” Yoo argued. “I would say that the president or Attorney General Barr could legitimately say, ‘I’m going to withdraw the DEA and I’m going to withdraw federal law enforcement on marijuana from all of those states’.”

Even for someone like Yoo, prohibition is an unacceptable form of torture that has gone too far for too long.

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