Harold Koh

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Harold Koh

Harold Hongju Koh

Phillip Burton Award

Harold Koh, Dean and Gerard C. and Bernice Latrobe Smith Professor of International Law at Yale Law School, was the recipient of the Phillip Burton Award, at the 2006 Phillip Burton Immigration & Civil Rights Awards, from the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, in the Bay Area.[1]

Obama appointment

In March 2009 Harold Koh was nominated[2]by the Obama administration for the position of Legal Advisor in the DOS and confirmed in June 2009.

A column in the March 31, 2009 online edition of Investor's Business Daily IBD, entitled "Who Is Harold Koh?", provided some details about how Koh viewed international law as being an important consideration in making and interpreting U.S. constitutional law. IBD termed Koh's internationalist views and actions as being those of "an advocate of what he calls 'transnational legal process' and argues that that distinction between U.S. and international law should vanish."

Koh, a former dean of the Yale Law School, according to IBD, thinks it is "appropriate for the Supreme Court to construe our Constitution in the light of foreign and international law" in its decisions.

On the death penalty, IBD quotes Koh as saying that "The evidence strongly suggests that we do not currently pay decent respect to the opinions of humankid in our administration of the death penalty. For that reason (italics added), the death penalty should, in time, be declared in violation of the Eighth Amendment."

He has submitted amicus briefs in support of the argument that "international and foreign court decisions compelled the Supreme Court to strike down the Texas law (anti-sodomy laws), in the case "Lawrence v. Texas".

Regarding Islamic Shariah law, IBD wrote that "He also values the opinions of the world's imams. A New York lawyer, Steven Stein, says Koh in 2007 told the Yale Club of Greenwich that 'in an appropriate case, he didn't see any reason why Shariah law would not be applied to govern a case in the United States.'"

IBD also listed other leftist positions that Koh has taken on key issues, including the following:

  • Koh thinks America is the bad guy on the world stage. He blasted Operation Desert Storm as a violation of international law despite the U.N.'s blessing. {KW: It freed invaded Kuwait from Saddam Husseins forces}.
  • He supported the Sandinista move to get the International Criminal Court to force Congress to cut off funding of the Contras in Nicaragua. {KW: This funding helped the freedom fighters to continually defeat the Marxist army of the FSLN to the point that they were forced to agree to internationally monitored free elections, in which they lost decisively to the non-communist, democratic opposition forces}.
  • In 2004, after Operation Iraqi Freedom OIF had begun, Koh lumped the U.S. in with North Korea as part of an "axis of disobedience" regarding international law.
  • Koh says the Supreme Court is now divided between "nationalist" judges who believe our Constitution is the only one that counts and "transnationalists" who believe "we the people" should be changed to "we are the world."

Koh did not get the position as the top Legal Advisor to the State Department.

References