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National Security Law

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Cornell University Law School

John Yoo

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Executive Branch Lawyers In A Time Of Terror: The 2008 F.W. Wickwire Memorial Lecture, W. Bradley Wendel Oct 2008

Executive Branch Lawyers In A Time Of Terror: The 2008 F.W. Wickwire Memorial Lecture, W. Bradley Wendel

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

This article discusses the ethical responsibilities of the lawyers who advise executive branch officials on the lawfulness of actions taken in the name of national security. To even talk about this subject assumes that there is some distinction between a government that does all within its power to protect its citizens, and one that does all within its lawful power. If there are good normative reasons to care about maintaining this distinction, then we have the key to understanding the ethical responsibilities of government lawyers. The Bush administration took the position that the role of lawyers is to get out …