Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Brad DeLong, a professor at Berkeley, sent a letter to the faculty senate chair asking him, in modest, reasoned terms, to have someone look into whether it's the best idea for John "Torture Memo" Yoo to be employed at the school as a teacher and role model for new young lawyers.

The same blog post has Academic Senate chair William Drummond's response:

Creating the panel you recommend to examine Prof. Yoo’s conduct would be defamatory on the face of it. Besides that, there’s the practical problem of finding committee members with the expertise you outline.

On the second point, Drummond clearly doth protest too much: another pseudonymous Charles has fun listing numerous qualified committee members from Berkeley's own faculty.

But consider the first: can merely raising questions be defamatory? Well, the questions are being raised, regardless. If Drummond really thinks they're unjust, and that his faculty member is being maligned by them, I can think of worse ways to deal with the situation than convening a few of his colleagues to investigate the matter, say how they're unjust, and provide a half-decent defense.

But Drummond doesn't want to do that. It's almost as if he knows damn well what would come out of that kind of inquiry, and he just doesn't want to hear it.