It would be an understatement to say that Dr. John Yoo’s tenure at the UC Berkeley School of Law is controversial. After writing the infamous “torture” memos for the Bush Administration, he returned to teaching at the nation’s best public university. His classes had to be conducted at a secret undisclosed location, because of all the protests.
Due to strong tenure protections, it is perhaps understandable that the Dean did not fire Dr. Yoo. But I wonder how many will still sympathize with the University now that it has honored Dr. Yoo as the new Emanuel S. Heller Professor of Law:
The intellectual aspirations of law faculty emerged in full display last month, as Berkeley Law honored five of its own. The distinguished scholars are the new recipients of endowed faculty chairs, chosen for their contributions to legal education and scholarship. The celebratory event was held at the Memorial Stadium’s University Club, where faculty and family members mingled together and admired the Bay Area view.
After an opening welcome by Interim Dean Gillian Lester, the honorees strolled to the podium to share bits of the research that had captured their imaginations. Each expressed gratitude to the donors whose gifts enabled them to delve into a specific course of study. During the presentations, a passion for analytical pursuits emerged, as did an interest in a broader social context: no armchair scholars in this crowd.
John Yoo, is the Emanuel S. Heller Professor of Law and co- founder of the law school’s Korea Law Center. He paid tribute to a previous holder of the chair, Paul Mishkin, a long-time Berkeley Law professor and expert on the role of federal courts. Yoo praised Mishkin for “recognizing that courts had to respond to society’s broader political demands.”
The Heller professorship was the first chair ever endowed at the law school, established by Clara Hellman Heller in the early 1900s in honor of her late husband.