Robert Delahunty

Torture Connection: 
The coauthor
  • Born in New York City, attended a Jesuit high school
  • 1968, B.A. Columbia University
  • 1970, B.A.  in classics, Oxford University
  • 1972, B. Phil. in philosophy, Oxford University
  • 1972-80, taught philosophy in England and Scotland
  • 1983, J.D. Harvard School of Law
  • 1983-86, private practice of law, Sullivan and Cromwell, New York
  • 1986-91, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice
  • 1992-2002, Special Counsel, Office of Legal Counsel, Department of Justice
  • 2002-03, Deputy General Counsel, White House Office of Homeland Security
  • 2004-present, Associate Professor of Law, University of St. Thomas, Minneapolis

Delahunty helps John Yoo write memos making legal case for suspending constitutional rights and protections

Robert Delahunty, whose Justice Department career spanned the presidency of Clinton as well as the early Bush years, found in his new colleague John Yoo a legal philosophy rooted in the same way of thinking as his own. They collaborated on a spate of memos for the White House and Justice Department, most of which have not yet been declassified.

Delahunty is not known to have coauthored Yoo's notorious "torture memo," which attempted to define torture so narrowly that the United States's interrogation techniques could not be classified as torturous. But he and Yoo did produce memos arguing that neither the Geneva Conventions nor other treaties and law would control U.S. treatment of prisoners during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Delahunty-Yoo memo led to denial of Geneva protections to U.S. prisoners

One of these memos, a 42-page document dated January 9, 2002 and addressed to William Haynes at the Department of Defense, was approved by President Bush in a secret statement and served as the legal foundation for administration policies discarding Geneva protections at Guantanamo and other sites around the world. The Supreme Court has since rejected virtually all of Yoo and Delahunty's arguments.

To this day, Yoo remains "my frequent coauthor," according to Delahunty--as they work together on scholarly articles from their separate posts as law school professors.