HABEAS CORPUS

WH Wants Yoo Suit Dropped

The Obama administration has asked an appeals court to dismiss a lawsuit accusing John Yoo, the Bush administration attorney, of authorizing the torture of Jose Padilla, the American citizen arrested in 2002 and accused of planning to detonate a dirty bomb. Yoo authored a 2002 White House memo that said rough treatment of detainees did not count as torture unless it caused "organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death." Padilla says Yoo provided legal cover for what he terms mistreatment. Justice Department lawyers told the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that the lawsuit risks "deterring full and frank advice” regarding enemies. Besides, the department noted, the Office of Professional Responsibility has been investigating the advice Yoo gave Bush since 2004, and can recommend punishment. Yoo is now being represented by a private attorney, Miguel Estrada, who was nominated by Bush for an appeals court position and was the first such nominee ever blocked by filibuster.