Larry Thompson: From Rendering Maher Arar to Pushing Pop to Teaching Lawyers

Oh is Mary going to love this.

As she has tirelessly reminded us over the years, Larry Thompson, the former Deputy Attorney General who signed off on Maher Arar’s rendition to Syria to be tortured, has spent the last 7 years at PepsiCo serving as their General Counsel.

But he’s got a new job: as a law professor at University of Georgia.

Now, it appears he’ll just be teaching corporate law and white collar crime and not–like John Yoo at Berkeley–constitutional law.

But it’s yet another example of a top Bush lawyer who, after abusing the rule of law while in government, is being rewarded with a job teaching the next generation of lawyers.

Here’s what the Center for Constitutional Rights had to say about the move (remember they’ve represented Arar):

The Center for Constitutional Rights is profoundly concerned at the news that the University of Georgia School of Law has hired former Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson as a permanent member of its law school faculty.  Mr. Thompson played a prominent role in the extraordinary rendition of our client, Maher Arar, to Syria where he was tortured and detained for a year.  Mr. Arar’s case caused international outrage that led the Canadian government to launch a public inquiry, exonerate him of any wrongdoing, acknowledge their role in his treatment, and compensate him.  It would be shocking if the Law School were aware of Mr. Thompson’s role in this case and hired him nonetheless.  The notion that Mr. Thompson should be held out as a model for future law students when in fact he should be, at a bare minimum, investigated for his role in Mr. Arar’s rendition to torture is astonishing.  We call on the Law School to investigate and reconsider its appointment of Mr. Thompson accordingly.  Anything short of a full investigation into this matter would bring into question the integrity of The University of Georgia School of Law.

  1. bobschacht says:

    These guys are shameless.
    I hope the Spanish courts take an interest. Thanks for bringing our attention to his bad example.

    Bob in AZ

  2. bobschacht says:

    Hey, where’d everybody go? Can I really be the only person to respond to your last two posts? Did someone declare “Recess!” and I didn’t hear?

    Bob in AZ

  3. marksb says:

    He’s not rewarded, he’s been placed strategically into

    a job teaching the next generation of lawyers

    There’s an agenda here, and it’s a far-seeing one, looking over the next couple of generations of lawyers…

    • emptywheel says:

      I was thinking the same thing. Stocking law schools full of torture apologists (though Thompson is just a torture facilitator, he isn’t on the talking circuit defending it at least) is as detrimental as anything the Federalist Society has done.

      It was interesting. I had a talk w/Alan Brinkley back when he was provost at Columbia. He was at that point in the process of hiring what ended up being Matthew Waxman, a former Bush lawyer who was in the crowd that opposed torture in 2005-2006. He was talking about wanting conservative views represented, but how awful it was trying to vet stuff, given that no one knew a lot of this for so long.

      W/Thompson, though, there’s no such problem. The IG Report on Arar places the blame squarely w/Thompson. See footnote 15.

      So a law school couldn’t find this report?

      • BoxTurtle says:

        So a law school couldn’t find this report?

        In Georgia, that report likely HELPED him. In the south especially, nobody seems to mind when something illegal or immoral happens to someone not a member of their church.

        Boxturtle (I sometimes wonder if any pastor has the guts to address THAT in a sermon)

        • rugger9 says:

          No doubt this was intentional, so is anyone going after his law license given the results of the Canadian inquiry? That would strike at the source of his CV. If one reads Legal Schnauzer, as I do, one would also realize that the relevant Bar association would probably do nothing, because that’s what they do. After all, it was hard work helping Darth.

          The other question is who is bankrolling this? As marksb noted in #7, the leverage to force changes was an is $$$ control, we see it in DC and WI and MI, even now. So it would be worth the time to see who is giving what to UGA Law, and figure out what strings came along with the cash.

  4. marksb says:

    Hey Bob, maybe the rapture was a couple of days early? No, wait, we’re talking about FDL here…never mind.

  5. marksb says:

    Thompson is there not because they didn’t vet him, he’s there because the PTB at and behind the school want him there.

    An illustration of this is in regard to a local private high school in my little town, very successful, sends the full graduating class every year to the best and more prestigious colleges. The school was proud of the fact that they taught independent, critical thinking, and often hired teachers with a liberal and independent philosophy. On the other hand, they’ve got a board that usually bends toward the rich/conservative side, and during the Bush years, when some noise on torture and the war(s) was heard from both students and faculty on campus, they started trying to force changes.

    The changes didn’t work, the headmaster was resistant, and in the case of one firing they did get, the teacher fought back and was rehired.

    But then the economy crashed and the amount of money coming into the school was basically halved, and then the board went for control: “We’ll increase the income to make up the budget, but these are the changes you WILL make in order to have our continued participation.”

    The headmaster was gone. Four teachers were fired. The people brought in were interviewed and approved by the conservative faction of the board. The school changed.

    Thompson is there because they wanted him, most likely because of his record.

  6. Mary says:

    Thanks for staying on top of this. I guess he’ll get rolling teaching white collar crime with the Jeppesen case./feeblesnark

    I’m beaten up on and just can’t pop back from the punches. It’s a sad thing, what has become of this nation because of icious, nasty, petty pieces of work like Thompson and Ashcroft and Yoo and Bybee and all their successors, under Bush and Obama.

    • bobschacht says:

      We need you to pop back up from the punches, to give us your insights about what is happening and how to fix it.

      Our noses may be too far into the forest to get the big picture.
      Obama wrote about the Audacity of Hope, but he didn’t mean for us to hope in him. I think he meant that we should have the audacity to hope even when the situation looks hopeless, because that’s how we find our way out of the mess.

      Best wishes,
      Bob in AZ

  7. reader says:

    Thanks, EW. I followed Maher Arar’s ordeal from the start here in Canada. Arar is STILL on the US watch list and the US refuses to divulge the super duper secret information they have that justifies that IN SPITE of the Canadian findings. So I am not at all surprised there is NO accountability for anyone in the US, as if there would be anyway.

    Wikileaks tells us this week that a longtime CSIS (Canadian CIA) PAID -PAID- informant who has testified to convict members of the “Toronto 18” is ALSO on US watch lists. His response to this information is ‘wtf?’ and …

    “I and my family are TOTALLY SCREWED forever.” True quote. He’s right.

    It’s not EVEN enough these days to be fighting terrorism, let alone be innocent.

    • skdadl says:

      I guess I’m EPUd by now (my fault) but: I think that guy was the agent provocateur, reader, which makes the story even odder. I’m having connectivity problems at the moment and haven’t been able to read the whole cable, but how bizarre is that? They screw their own paid agent?

      With guys like Thompson, it really is up to us to keep their names out there and the stories known. It’s so discouraging that we have so little traction after all this time, but … But what? I don’t know how to finish that.