Bench Memos

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Another Feeble Defense of Koh


In a blog post by law professor Julian Ku on Opinio Juris, GW law professor Edward Swaine tries to defend Harold Koh’s less-than-forthright testimony on CEDAW before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and he and I have a back-and-forth in the comments section.  Alas, Swaine’s defense rests entirely on his misunderstanding of the hearing process and on his misrepresentation of Koh’s oral testimony.  (Before having the benefit of my response to Swaine, Ku stated that Swaine “raises a really good point” and tentatively opined that “[a]s far as [he] can tell” Koh’s testimony raises “no real ethical issue.”)

In an earlier post on Opinio Juris, Ku credits my post on Koh’s CEDAW testimony for “land[ing] a sharp and potentially serious blow” to Koh.  Ku, I’ll note, refrains from embracing my characterization of Koh’s testimony, but he does say that “Koh was plainly in advocacy mode, not scholarship mode,” that (in wry understatement) the “testimony was not Koh’s best moment,” and that “Whelan deserves credit for raising questions about it.”  In the comments section to that post, I also respond to another effort to defend Koh.

Tags: Whelan


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