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April 01, 2009

Obama's Attorney at the State Department

I thought this was an old story, but it turns out we haven't mentioned it here at the HQ. Everything you wished you didn't have to know about Obama's choice for State Department legal adviser Harold Koh was written back in September by Ed Whelan.

Here's Part 1 and here is Part 2. A taste:

This passage from a 1994 New Republic article by Jeffrey Rosen (on the “emotional jurisprudence” of Justice Harry Blackmun) is also telling:
Why should liberals care if Blackmun was an indecisive, unsophisticated craftsman, unconcerned about dressing up his humane impulses in legal reasoning? "I'd rather have Blackmun, who uses the wrong reasoning in Roe to get to the right results, and let other people figure out the right reasoning," says Harold Koh of Yale, a former Blackmun clerk.

Koh also has the intellectual temperament of an ideologue. As one Yale law professor has charitably put it (in the Yale Daily News article above), Koh “tends to wear his convictions on his sleeve.” Others have found him to be a bully who uses his position of power to intimidate younger scholars into not contesting Koh’s cherished positions.

There are few lawyers more radical than Harold Koh. He is expected to be among Obama's picks for the Supreme Court and his nomination to State may be the first step. I can just see some knucklehead senator suggesting, "Well, we confirmed him for State, how can we say 'no' for the Supreme Court?"


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posted by Gabriel Malor at 08:21 AM

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