Given that, as a government official, John Yoo was an architect of the Bush administration's torture policies and tried to secure for George W. Bush near-dictatorial powers, it probably goes without saying that he isn't much of a columnist.
Let's say it anyway.
Right out of the gate, in the first column in which Yoo is identified as a Philadelphia Inquirer columnist, Yoo displays naked partisan hypocrisy, blasting President Obama for citing empathy as a quality a Supreme Court justice should possess after Yoo himself had praised Clarence Thomas for displaying that very quality.
Yoo then claims Obama is shifting his stance on empathy: "Obama's call for emotive judges contradicts his moderate campaign positions."
Shifting your position with the political winds, as Yoo has done, is one thing. Following such a shift with an attack on someone else for doing exactly what you have just done is taking partisan hackery to another level.
But that's not all! This is John Yoo we're talking about -- one of the villains behind the Bush administration's use of torture and its shameless power-grabs. You think he's going to stop at some hypocritical nonsense about "empathy"? No way.
Yoo went on to argue that Obama should not appoint an "activist" judge, thus mindlessly repeating the stupid talking point every Republican has used to attack every Democratic judicial nominee (actual or potential) since the dawn of time.
But in Yoo's case, the attack is particularly silly. See, right there at the end of Yoo's column, his bio line notes "He has served as a law clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas." And Yoo has lavished praise upon his former boss. And Clarence Thomas is, by one measure, the single most activist member of the Supreme Court.
No, John Yoo probably can't do as much harm to America as a Phildelphia Inquirer columnist as he did as a government official. But that won't stop him from trying.
UPDATE: More from Yoo's column: "Obama could make a pick based solely on race or sex - though it's not clear why the most empathetic judges are minorities or women - to please parts of his coalition." Nobody wants Obama to make a pick "based solely on race or sex." Nobody. If Obama picked, for example, Yoo's unindicted co-conspirator Alberto Gonzales, for example, he'd have a bunch of unhappy liberals on his hands. It is, of course, too much to expect a man who argues in favor of torture and unchecked executive power to bother with niceties like accurately describing the positions of the people he is arguing with, but the slur that women and minorities don't care about qualifications shouldn't go unrebutted.
And more Yoo:
If Obama shoots for empathy ... he will give Senate Republicans yet another opportunity to rally around a unifying issue where they better represent the majority of Americans.
He's kidding, right? John Yoo doesn't even represent himself when it comes to whether judges should possess empathy. He thinks he's going to rally the majority of Americans to oppose empathy? Come on.