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Law profs blast Birgeneau’s Occupy Cal response

More than 85 faculty members at the University of California, Berkeley Law School have signed a letter to Chancellor Robert Birgeneau and other administrators condemning the police response to Occupy Cal protesters last week.

The Boalt Hall faculty’s letter says police not only instigated violence at Sproul Plaza, but also were “unwarranted and excessive” in detaining two law students elsewhere that day. The letter urges Birgeneau to publicly support and defend the right to engage in non-violent political expression.

Among the signers is former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, now serving as a Distinguished Practitioner of Law and Public Policy at the school.

Read the full text of the letter, after the jump…
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Protestors can’t find Yoo, but Jon Stewart did

Protestors’ targeting of Cal law professor and former Bush administration lawyer and torture-memo author John Yoo has taken an almost comical turn into cat-and-mouse territory: They want to keep disrupting his classes, but they can’t find him.

Yoo is teaching a Tuesday-evening class this semester on “Constitutional Design and the California Constitution,” but Boalt Hall’s schedule lists the class’ location as “to be announced.” Activists from World Can’t Wait and FireJohnYoo.org say their calls to the Cal Registrar’s office and the law school seeking the class’ location have been rebuffed – gee, I wonder why?

“We continue to call for Yoo to be fired, disbarred, and prosecuted for war crimes, along with his entire cohort from the Bush-Cheney Torture Team,” World Can’t Wait organizer Stephanie Tang said in a news release. “Torture is a war crime. Thousands have been tortured thanks to John Yoo’s work for the White House, long after Yoo himself returned to teaching. The faculty and students right here at UC – and all people of conscience everywhere — need to denounce these crimes, not turn away in silent complicity.”

They’ll hold a news conference outside the office of Boalt Hall Dean Christopher Edley Jr. at 3 p.m. today to demand information about Yoo’s class. If I were them, I wouldn’t hold my breath for an answer. They certainly have a right to protest Yoo, but expecting the university to provide them the information they need to disrupt his classes seems foolhardy.

Meanwhile, Yoo was on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” last night. See the complete, unedited interview in three parts, after the jump…
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California law students nab D.C. internships

Law students from the University of California, Berkeley and UCLA are beltway-bound in a new full-semester academic internship program.

“UCDC Law” will place second- and third-year law students in congressional offices, the Justice Department, regulatory agencies and elsewhere around the nation’s capital; UC-Irvine students eventually will take part, too. Only a handful of U.S. law schools have academic programs in Washington, D.C.

“This is a direct and powerful way to expose students to aspects of lawyering in Washington and thereby broaden their thinking about professional paths available to them,” says Berkeley Law Dean Chris Edley Jr., who recently advised President Barack Obama’s transition team. “Our new classroom technology will also enable us to connect our students and experts in Washington with law students on campus, combining resources for dynamic interactive instruction.”

The first batch of interns, including seven from Berkeley, already has settled into Washington. Second-year Berkeley student Dyanna Quizon, placed in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, said the level of responsibility they’ve been given “is amazing.”

“I’ve been asked to help lead a substantive training session for federal employees on making programs more accessible to non-English speaking communities,” she said. “A law student telling government officials what to do in important situations? Pretty incredible.”

More, after the jump…
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Cal law dean to advise Obama transition team

University of California, Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law Dean Christopher F. Edley Jr. — who was among Barack Obama’s Harvard Law professors between his stints in the Carter and Clinton administrations, and who had advised this year’s campaign — is among a dozen people named today as an advisory board to president-elect Obama’s transition team.

“I’ve done two tours of duty in the White House and this is my third transition effort,” Edley told me moments ago. “My joyfulness about the election is tempered by a very deep appreciation of how extraordinarily difficult the president’s to-do list will be. The team has been working for a couple of months, but this will still be the most complex transition in our lifetime. The sleeves are already rolled up and the adrenaline is already at flood levels.”