Harold Koh, Promoter of Shari'a?
by Daniel Pipes
On March 24, Barack Obama nominated Harold Koh, the just-resigned dean of Yale Law School, to be legal adviser to the Department of State, a Senate-confirmed job that would have him, writes Meghan Clyne in the New York Post, "forge a wide range of international agreements on issues from trade to arms control, and help represent our country in such places as the United Nations and the International Court of Justice."
He appears to exemplify the "transnational progressivist" mentality that John Fonte of the Hudson Institute identified back in 2002 in Orbis magazine (and which I summarized in the New York Post). If there is a single key to this mentality, it is the diminishment of the individual person in favor of various groupings.
But what brings Koh to attention here is his apparent endorsement of Islamic law within the American court system. Clyne writes:
That letter can be read at National Review Online. In response,
Comments: (1) The day may have arrived when Americans, like Britons and the Dutch, have to stave off their establishment advocating Shari'a. It's a dark day, indeed. (2) The Senate must reject Harold Koh as State's legal advisor for his "transnational" worldview is unacceptable. (March 30, 2009)
Mar. 31, 2009 update: David Limbaugh adds some information to Clyne's research at "Another Day, Another Scary Nomination":
Limbaugh goes on to comment: "Whether or not Koh ever responded to Stein's letter, Stein's representations of Koh's remarks are certainly consistent with Koh's writings that I reviewed."
In addition, I was contacted this morning by Robin Reeves Zorthian, Yale '76 of Greenwich Connecticut. After a back-and-forth, she sent me this statement in a personal note:
Writing in a comment on my website, she impugns the integrity of the person who reported this incident: "Steven Stein has fabricated this entire controversy to promote his own political agenda."
Comment: Koh may not have made the alleged statement but it closely fits his general outlook. I therefore hope the senators who question him bring up this topic and probe it carefully.
Apr. 1, 2009 update: Ed Whelan cautions at National Review:
I agree; the Shari'a remark is a sideshow to the larger drama. But Koh's alleged remark does raise unprecedented issues of Islamic law that need on their own to be seriously addressed.
Also, Fox News reports that White House spokesman Reid Cherlin described Steven J. Stein's version of events as "not accurate" and noted that the host of the event in 2007 disputes Stein's account.
Reader comments (50) on this item
Comment on this item
You can help support Daniel Pipes' work by making a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum. Daniel J. Pipes