Skip to content

Coalition Letter to Senate Committee

The following is a letter sent on behalf of the Coalition to Preserve American Sovereignty to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations regarding the nomination of Harold Koh.  Signatories have signed in their individual capacities; organizations are listed for identification purposes only.

23 April, 2009

Hon. John F. Kerry, Chairman
U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 446
Washington, DC 20510

Hon. Richard G. Lugar, Ranking Member
U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 423
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Chairman Kerry and Ranking Member Lugar:

We are concerned that Harold Koh has been nominated to serve as the next Legal Adviser to the Department of State.

Although the Secretary of State and the President may seek legal advice from whomever they please, the position of Legal Adviser comprises much more than that.  The Legal Adviser is the voice of the United States around the world on international legal issues.  Among other responsibilities, the Legal Adviser (1) is involved in the negotiation, drafting, and interpretation of treaties, U.N. Security Council resolutions, and General Assembly resolutions; (2) represents the United States in international negotiations, at international organizations, and before the International Court of Justice; and (3) interprets and seeks to develop international law.

In short, the position of Legal Adviser is not a “desk job.”  It serves as a worldwide platform for whoever holds the office.

That being the case, we urge you take stock of a few representative legal opinions held by the current nominee regarding international law:

  • That the congressionally authorized 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq “violate[d] international law” because the U.S. had not received “explicit United Nations authorization” (“A Better Way To Deal With Iraq,” Hartford Courant, October 20, 2002);
  • That pursuant to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations the decisions of the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands, trump the legal rulings and decisions of domestic state criminal courts (Brief of Former United States Diplomats as Amicus Curiae in Support of Petitioner Jose Ernesto Medellin, Case No. 06-984 in the U.S. Supreme Court, Medellin v. The State of Texas, June 28, 2007);
  • That the decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court should “tip more decisively toward a transnationalist jurisprudence” (“On American Exceptionalism,” Stanford Law Review, Vol. 55, No. 5, p. 1525, May 2003);
  • That the United States should ratify the Rome Statute on the International Criminal Court, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child regardless of the implications for American sovereignty and federalism (Change for America; A Progressive Blueprint for the 44th President, p. 497, New York, 2009); and,
  • That the United States is such a major violator of international law that it belongs in an “axis of disobedience” with nations such as North Korea and Saddam Hussein’s Iraq (“Transnational Legal Process After September 11th,” Berkeley Journal of International Law, Vol. 22, p. 337, 2004).

We believe that Mr. Koh’s opinions are far outside the norm and represent a radical shift from the positions taken by past administrations – both Democratic and Republican.

Due to the international nature of the position, the Legal Adviser must be relied upon to protect and defend the rights of American citizens and the interests of American institutions from the increasing (and to us, unwelcome) influence of international organizations, and must promote policies that preserve U.S. national security prerogatives, self-governance, and constitutional principles while defending American values from encroachment by transnational actors.

Since many of Mr. Koh’s closely held opinions fall far from that standard and are contrary to those principles, we respectfully urge you not to support him for this critical position.


Dr. Herbert I. London
President, The Hudson Institute

Hon. Rick Santorum
Former United States Senator and Senior Fellow, Ethics and Public Policy Center

Andrew C. McCarthy
Senior Fellow, National Review Institute

David Keene
Chairman, American Conservative Union

Matt Brooks
Executive Director, Republican Jewish Coalition

Dr. Michael Ledeen
Senior Fellow and Holder of the Freedom Chair, Foundation for Defense of Democracies

Jeremy A. Rabkin
Professor of Law, George Mason University

Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.
Founder and President, Center for Security Policy

Wendy Wright
President, Concerned Women for America

Clifford D. May
President, Foundation for Defense of Democracies

Christopher C. Horner
Senior Fellow, Competitive Enterprise Institute

Mathew Staver
Dean and Professor of Law, Liberty University School of Law

Edward Whalen
President, Ethics and Public Policy Center

Phyllis Schlafly
Founder and President, Eagle Forum

MG Vincent E. Falter, U.S. Army (Ret.)
Former Deputy Assistant to the Secretary of Defense (Atomic Energy)

Michael Farris
Chancellor, Patrick Henry College

Vice Admiral Robert Monroe, U.S. Navy (Ret.)
Former Director, Defense Nuclear Agency

Daniel Pipes
Director, Middle East Forum

John Fonte
Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute

Brigitte Gabriel
President, ACT! for America

Hon. Tidal W. McCoy
Acting Secretary of the Air Force and Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (1981-1988)

Doug Bandow
Former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan

Susan A. Carleson
Chairman/CEO, American Civil Rights Union

Jim Backlin
Vice President for Legislative Affairs, Christian Coalition of America

Gary Marx
Executive Director, Judicial Confirmation Network

Andrea Lafferty
Executive Director, Traditional Values Coalition

Austin Ruse
President, Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute

Dr. William Van Cleave
Professor Emeritus, Department of Defense & Strategic Studies, Missouri State University

Thomas McClusky
Senior Vice President, Family Research Council Action

Terrence Scanlon
President, Capital Research Center

Thomas P. Kilgannon
President, Freedom Alliance

Colin A. Hanna
President, Let Freedom Ring

Dr. Thomas G. Barnes
Prfeossor Emeritus of History & Law; Co-Director, Canadian Studies Program, University of California, Berkeley

Gary Aldrich
Chairman, CNP Action, Inc.

Michael D. Ostrolenk
President, American Conservative Defense Alliance

Keith Pavlischek
Senior Fellow, Ethics and Public Policy Center

Brian T. Kennedy
President, The Claremont Institute

Kevin L. Kearns
President, U.S. Business and Industry Council

Dr. Jack Wheeler
President, Freedom Research Foundation

Dr. Peter Leitner
President, Washington Center for Peace and Justice

Frances Brigham Johnson
Strategic Planning Initiatives From the Marshall Plan to USAID

Dr. Robert Kaufman
Professor of Political Science, Pepperdine University

Martin “Buzz” Hefti
The Hefti Group

Dane von Breichenruchardt
President, U.S. Bill of Rights Foundation

Curt Levey
Executive Director, The Committee for Justice

Frank S. Besson III
Managing Director, Besson Consulting

Dr. Douglas Macdonald
Professor of Political Science, Colgate University

Amy Ridenour
President, The National Center for Public Policy Research

C. Preston Noell III
President, Tradition, Family, Property, Inc.

Susan Yoshihara
Director, International Organizations Research Group, Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute

Piero A. Tozzi
Director, International Organizations Law Group, Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute

Tom Fitton
President, Judicial Watch

Peter Huessy
President, GeoStrategic Analysis

R. Peter Weaver
Director of Compliance and Safety, International Liquid Terminals Association

David Kopel
Research Director, Independence Institute

Dr. Joseph Morrison Skelly
Professor of Political Science, College of Mt. St. Vincent

Mark Williamson
Founder and President, Federal Intercessors

Ron Pearson
President, Council for America

Dr. William Greene

Beth Gilinsky
Co-Director, Jewish Action Alliance

Dr. Jay Bergman
Professor of History, Central Connecticut State University

Jeff Gayner
Americans for Sovereignty

David Yerushalmi, Esq.
General Counsel, Center for Security Policy

Tom Trento
Executive Director, Florida Security Council

Fred Gedrich
Former U.S. Department of State and Defense Official

Tom DeWeese
President, American Policy Center

Jeff Bell
Visiting Fellow, Ethics and Public Policy Center

Richard Falknor
Chairman, Maryland Center-Right Coalition

Rev. Dr. Keith Roderick
Secretary General, Coalition for the Defense of Human Rights

Andrew F. Quinlan
President, Center for Freedom and Prosperity

Dr. James Hutchens
President, The Jerusalem Connection International

Irwin Hochberg
Board Member, Jewish Institute of National Security Affairs

Judy Smith
State Director, Concerned Women for America of Kansas

Sancha Haysbert-Smith
State Director, Concerned Women for America of Louisiana

Carrie L. Walker
Director, Concerned Women for America of Michigan

Bev Ehlen
State Director, Concerned Women for America of Missouri

Ann Hettinger
State Director, Concerned Women for America of Texas

Janet Robey
State Director, Concerned Women for America of Virginia

Tanya Ditty
State Director, Concerned Women for America of Georgia

Cathie Adams
President, Eagle Forum Texas

Bobbie Patray
President, Eagle Forum Tennessee

Alyssa A. Lappen
Investigative Journalist

Carol Greenwald
President, Potomac Investment Co.

Susanne M. Reyto
Author, speaker

Dr. John Karch
Slovak League of America

One Comment


  1. The No on Koh Letter: | My Legal Spot

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: