Until now, I've refrained from comment on the very public controversy concerning the pretty scandalous "legal" memos written by Bush Administration lawyers cooking up any-and-all-rationales for violating international law and torturing "bad guys." I haven't much of substance to add to what others have written on this subject. The lawyers who wrote this stuff deserve to be embarrassed, and they have been, at least momentarily. At the center of this firestorm has been John Yoo, a law professor at Berkeley ("Boalt Hall School of Law"), who, it turns out, is largely responsible for most of the egregious legal memoranda. (I note in passing that Professor Yoo clerked for the extreme--but not, mind you, lunatic--Justice Thomas.)
Berkeley law students called for Yoo to either repudiate his work or resign from the faculty. ("Juan Non-Volokh"--the "non" presumably designates the fact that he has neither intellectual nor legal competence--at the Volokh Conspiracy has written on this subject at length, for those who traverse blogs.) I give them credit for not calling for Yoo to be fired, since doing so would be both illegal and unconstitutional. Contrary to the Boalt students, academic freedom does indeed protect Professor Yoo's right to be both morally wrong and wrong on the legal merits; if it did not, it wouldn't mean much.
My guess, in any case, is that Professor Yoo would love to resign from the Boalt faculty, once he has another job. Boalt is a quite pathological place, even without the student body up-in-arms about your legal work! But at this point, it is doubtful he will be appointable at a comparable school.
In any case, what prompted me to comment was the judicious analysis of the denoument of this whole affair by Jack Balkin (Law, Yale) at his blog. I commend it to your attention.
Professor Yoo is no doubt an exceptionally bright young man--the proverbial 3-digit IQ. But, if I may borrow a phrase dear to our alleged President, he has, unfortunately, aligned himself with "evil," and has used his lawyerly intelligence to provide lawyerly rationales for injustice and inhumanity. He is not the first, nor will he be the last, lawyer to do so. More often than not, lawyers must do this in contexts in which the fundamental values of the post-Enlightenment world are not at stake. Professor Yoo's context, alas, was different.
One should not call on Professor Yoo to repudiate his memos or resign; he ought to repudiate them, to be sure, since every expert I've talked to confirms they are pretty bad pieces of work. But that is a matter for his intellectual and moral conscience. Calls for resignation are irrelevant. There are plenty of folks who ought to resign from the Berkeley law faculty--among many others--if intellectual or pedagogical incompetence were the issue. The only thing at issue here (at least to my knowledge) is Professor Yoo's failures of judgment, not his competence. For those, he has answered, and will be answering, to the tribunal of professional and public opinion.