Harold Koh


For the entire Harold Koh profile, click here.

Selected highlights from the Harold Koh profile:

Born in Boston, Massachusetts in December 1954, Harold Hongju Koh is an attorney of Korean-American heritage…. In 2009 President Barack Obama nominated him to be the Legal Advisor to the U.S. State Department.

Koh is an advocate of transnationalism, a concept that argues in favor of “global governance” as opposed to the constitutional sovereignty of independent nation-states. This perspective holds that the world’s most challenging problems — war, terrorism, “climate change,” hunger, financial and social inequalities, diseases, human rights violations, racism, sexism, and xenophobia — are too complex and deep-rooted for any single nation-state to address effectively on its own. The solution, says Koh, would be for all members of the international community to recognize a set of supranational laws and institutions whose authority overrides that of any particular government. Koh believes that such laws should “be internalized into the domestic law of even resistant nation-states.” …

“After September 11,” Koh said, “we were viewed with universal sympathy as victims of a brutal attack. But we have responded with a series of unnecessary, self-inflicted wounds, which have gravely diminished America’s standing as the world’s human rights leader.” He cited the following examples: ”the horror of Abu Ghraib”; “our disastrous policy on Guantanamo“; “our tolerance of torture and cruel treatment for detainees”; “warrantless government wiretapping”; “our attack on the U.N. and its human rights bodies”; “the denial of habeas corpus for suspected terrorist detainees”; and “our counterproductive decision to create military commissions.” …

Koh has derided the Patriot Act as legislation that “was created with hardly any deliberation or genuine legislative process,” and which consequently “should really be called the ‘Round-up-the-Usual-Suspects’ Act.”

For the entire Harold Koh profile, click here.

December 1st, 2009
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