Remedial Education for Berkeley Law Faculty

Or at least for John Yoo, who argues:

Courts award damages based on the harm to the victim and the harm to society. Suppose you thought that the Iraq war was a mistake. If so, isn’t the proper remedy to restore Saddam Hussein’s family and the Baath Party to power in Iraq? If you are unwilling to consider that remedy, aren’t you conceding that on balance, the benefits of the war outweigh the costs?

Uh, that would be no and no.

This is first-year Tort Law.  The point of damages is to compensate the victim.  No one who opposed the war or who thinks it was a mistake (or even a crime) believes that Saddam Hussein was its victim.  Maybe they think that Iraqis were the victims.  Maybe they think that the American soldiers were the victims.  So they would the ones who deserve compensation.

It is also first-year Property Law, specifically nuisance law.  Lots of times someone should get compensated for a nuisance even though the activity itself is beneficial overall.  As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, the Restatement standard for private nuisance awards damages if the harm is serious even if the activity’s utility is greater than its harm.

Of course, acknowledging either of these things would also require acknowledging America’s moral obligation in reconstructing Iraq, or in assisting our soldiers and their families in re-integrating themselves into US society.  Republicans oppose most foreign aid (except to Israel), and thanks to the GOP’s sequester strategy, scholarships for these veterans and their children have been slashed.

Maybe it’s time for some remedial classes.

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Reader Comments

6 Replies to “Remedial Education for Berkeley Law Faculty”

  1. Jonathan said:
    “… Republicans oppose most foreign aid (except to Israel)…”

    Dear Jonathan,
    Regarding Israel, do you support an eventual annexation of Judea and Sumeria?

  2. Jonathan said:
    “… Republicans oppose most foreign aid (except to Israel)…”

    Dear Jonathan,
    Regarding Israel, do you support an eventual annexation of Judea and Sumeria?

  3. Apology not accepted, Professor Yoo.

    Anneke, that link doesn’t say what you claim it does. BQRQPE, congratulations on getting even further off-topic than Professor Zasloff did when he mentioned the sequester (not to mention putting this post on an environmental law blog).

    Anyway, isn’t the really pernicious fallacy in John Yoo’s “reasoning” that the war resulted only in the Baath Party’s removal from power, and not the deaths of tens or hundreds of thousands of people, most of them civilians, the bankrupting of two countries, or the tremendous decline of American power.

    It’s like he’s justifying a budget deficit by pointing to a single person helped by government spending. Deciding that something is a benefit does not mean the benefit outweighs its costs.

  4. Apology not accepted, Professor Yoo.

    Anneke, that link doesn’t say what you claim it does. BQRQPE, congratulations on getting even further off-topic than Professor Zasloff did when he mentioned the sequester (not to mention putting this post on an environmental law blog).

    Anyway, isn’t the really pernicious fallacy in John Yoo’s “reasoning” that the war resulted only in the Baath Party’s removal from power, and not the deaths of tens or hundreds of thousands of people, most of them civilians, the bankrupting of two countries, or the tremendous decline of American power.

    It’s like he’s justifying a budget deficit by pointing to a single person helped by government spending. Deciding that something is a benefit does not mean the benefit outweighs its costs.

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About Jonathan

Jonathan Zasloff

Jonathan Zasloff teaches Torts, Land Use, Environmental Law, Comparative Urban Planning Law, Legal History, and Public Policy Clinic – Land Use, the Environment and Loc…

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