Yoo is a professor of law at the University of California at Berkeley (Boalt Hall School of Law) and a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. He served as general counsel of the Senate Judiciary Committee; as a law clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas and Judge Laurence H. Silberman; and, from 2001 to 2003, as a deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel of the U.S. Department of Justice.
Yoo has recently published two books on war powers and terrorism. In The Powers of War and Peace (2005) he argues for a capacious understanding of presidential war powers through a recovery of the views of the founders on foreign affairs power, supplemented with arguments based on constitutional text, structure, and history. Yoo has been called the key legal architect of the Bush administrations response to 9/11. War By Other Means: An Insider's Account of the War on Terror (2006) offers an insiders account of the contexts, facts, and personalities behind the war on terror.
John Yoo's lecture at the Athenaeum is sponsored by the Salvatori Center for the Study of Individual Freedom in the Modern World.