Harold Koh, State Dept’s Legal Adviser Nominee: U.S. Should Accept International Law

Excerpts from the Article:

President Obama’s nominee to be the State Department’s legal adviser has ignited a fury among conservative critics who say his views are a threat to American democracy — an accusation the White House on Tuesday called “outrageous” and “completely baseless.”

Former Clinton administration official Harold Koh, who has been dean of the Yale Law School since 2004, once wrote that the U.S. was part of an “axis of disobedience” with North Korea and Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.

Koh also has long held that the U.S. should accept international law when deliberating cases at home…(this appointment) will give Koh far-reaching influence over the extent to which international norms affect U.S. law.

“This is not a desk job. This guy will be the face of American international law around the world,” said Steven Gross, legal expert and fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation.

“The top legal adviser at State travels extensively and is involved in international legal negotiations, treaties and in major United Nations conferences.

“The president should have the right to choose the most conservative or liberal legal advisers to give them advice, but this is much more than that. The concern is that he cares as much about — if not more about — international law and integrating that into the American judicial system than he does about protecting American prerogatives and American sovereignty,” Gross said.

Koh also advocates a “transnational legal process” and has criticized the U.S. for its failure to “obey global norms.”

In an article published in the Berkeley Journal of International Law in 2004, Koh wrote, “What role can transnational legal process play in affecting the behavior of several nations whose disobedience with international law has attracted global attention after September 11th — most prominently, North Korea, Iraq and our own country, the United States of America? For shorthand purposes, I will call these countries ‘the axis of disobedience.'”

“This is international imperialism. Under Koh’s plan, the Constitution would become secondary and international law would take precedence regardless of what Americans said about the matter.”

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