MRC President, Other Prominent Conservatives: Say Just Say No to Harold Koh

President Obama's nominee to be the State Department's top legal adviser, Harold Koh, "is a radical transnationalist who, based on his writings and statements, aims to use international and foreign law to deprive Americans of our rights as American citizens."

So argue a group of respected conservative leaders including former Attorney General Ed Meese, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, and Media Research Center President Brent Bozell in a May 5 press statement.

You can find the statement in full below the page break:

Edwin Meese, former Attorney General

Alfred Regnery, Publisher, American Spectator

Grover Norquist, President, Americans for Tax Reform

Wm. Bradford Reynolds, former Assistant Attorney General

Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council

Charles J. Cooper, former Assistant Attorney General, OLC

Brent Bozell, President of the Media Research Center

T. Kenneth Cribb, former Counselor to U.S. Attorney General

Wendy Wright, President, Concerned Women for America

Phyllis Schlafly, founder and President, Eagle Forum

Richard Viguerie, Chairman

Obama Chooses Radical Transnational Ideology Over US Interests With Koh State Department Nomination

President Obama's nomination of left-wing academic Harold Koh to be the top lawyer at the State Department represents a choice based on ideology instead of national interest. Koh is a terrible pick for this important position.

Koh is a radical transnationalist who, based on his writings and statements, aims to use international and foreign law to deprive Americans of our rights as American citizens. 


Koh wants the Supreme Court to misinterpret the Constitution to embody rules of foreign and international law.[1]  He objects to America's "distinctive rights culture," which he complains gives "First Amendment protections for speech and religion ... far greater emphasis and judicial protection in America than in Europe or Asia."[2]  He also wants to invent new constitutional rights favored by leftist elites-for same-sex marriage and against the death penalty, for example.[3]  Under our Constitution, these are matters for us citizens to decide through our elected representatives.  But Koh wants to impose on us the views of foreign and international bureaucrats.


Koh also favors an aggressive misuse of treaties to impose social and economic policies on American citizens.  For example, he strongly supports a treaty that has been interpreted by the treaty's own committee to create rights to abortion and prostitution, to have the government determine the pay scale of every job, and even to require the abolition of Mother's Day.[4]

Koh also believes that United Nations conferences and even international meetings of left-wing activists have the authority to create rules of so-called customary international law that are binding in the United States as federal law.[5] 


Koh favors a flat ban on the United States government ever taking action to prevent American citizens from severe and imminent threats to national security.[6]  Koh opposes the very idea that American government officials should act to promote what they perceive to be our national self-interest.[7]


Koh supports imposing massive liability on American businesses-and massive costs on their employees, customers, and shareholders-for their entirely lawful commercial transactions with foreign regimes that did bad things to their people.[8]  This threatens a massive redistribution of wealth from American citizens to international left-wing activists.

As the State Department's top lawyer, Koh would be well positioned to advance his dangerous views on all these matters.[9] President Obama's choice of Koh demonstrates a preference for ideology over the national interest and the Senate should reject his nomination.

[1] Koh, "International Law as Part of Our Law," 98 Am. J. Int'l. L. 43, 53-54 (2004).

[2] Koh, "On American Exceptionalism," 55 Stan. L. Rev. 1479, 1483 & n. 14 (2003).

[3] Koh, "Paying ‘Decent Respect' to World Opinion on the Death Penalty," 35 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 1085, 1129 (2002); Koh's amicus brief in Kerrigan v. Commissioner of Public Health (available at

[4] Koh, "Why America Should Ratify the Women's Rights Treaty (CEDAW)," 34 Case W. Res. J. Int'l L. 263 (2002); see summary of and links to CEDAW committee statements at 

[5] Koh, "Is International Law Really State Law?," 111 Harv. L. Rev. 1824 (1998); see Ed Whelan, "Harold Koh's Transnationalism-Customary International Law"

[6] Koh's Comment in Michael Doyle's Striking First.

[7] Koh, "On American Exceptionalism," 55 Stan. L. Rev. 1479, 1480 & n.1 (2003).

[8] See Curtis A. Bradley & Jack L. Goldsmith, "Rights Case Gone Wrong," Washington Post, April 19, 2009 (available at 

[9] See Ed Whelan, "Harold Koh's Transnationalism-The Role of the State Department Legal Adviser" (available at

Appointments Press Release Obama Watch Brent Bozell Harold Koh