John Yoo and Carl Schmitt

Some revealing parallels:

While Yoo cites Clausewitz, he seems to have another German thinker in mind: Carl Schmitt. As the “crown jurist” of Germany in the thirties, Schmitt is famous for a number of flashes of dark lawyerly brilliance that supported the deconstruction of the Weimar Republic and hastened the rise of an authoritarian, and then totalitarian dictatorship. One of these was the use of external threat to justify a “state of exception,” followed by a transposition of the external threat to the internal political dynamic. This was done with a purpose: collapsing the careful allocation of powers in the Weimar Constitution in favor of one all-powerful Leader. John Yoo would call him the “commander in chief.” Curiously, for John Yoo the commander-in-chief has narrowly circumscribed powers when he’s a Democrat, and robust and dictatorial authority when he’s drawn from John Yoo’s own political party.