That’s the prospect repeatedly pushed in a two-part profile of Yale Law School Dean Harold Hongju Koh, from the Yale Daily News. The profile has been discussed extensively in the legal blogsophere (see links below).
Oh goodness. We could say something snarky and dismissive (e.g., “Hell to the N-O”). But we will comport ourselves with the dignity you expect from a leading gossip blogger.
We will merely refer you to what others have already said on the subject. E.g., Professor Stephen Bainbridge (“Koh’s appointment to the SCOTUS would be an unmitigated disaster.”); Professor David Bernstein (Koh is “a highly partisan liberal Democrat under whose tenure as dean conservative and libertarian students have felt increasingly uncomfortable”); and commenters at the WSJ Law Blog (“a severe narcissist,” “a political zealot,” and “[Harvard Dean] Elena Kagan would be a better choice”).
(Our favorite comment, from a WSJ Law Blog reader: “Other than that he’d be a sure vote for declaring Gitmo detainees have a constitutional right to Social Security benefits, I do not see the appeal.”)
So we’re holding our tongue. We do not want to have our YLS degree revoked after the fact.
A few more thoughts, after the jump.
We are trying to exercise restraint on a sensitive subject. But we would be remiss not to highlight the shout-out to ATL in the second of the two pieces:
[I]n a December 2006 controversy, David Lat, a blogger, claimed to unearth evidence that Koh had strong-armed a committee into awarding the school’s 2006 Merit Award to Linda Greenhouse, the New York Times Supreme Court reporter and the recipient of a master’s degree from the Law School, over Justice Samuel Alito LAW ’75. Koh and Greenhouse have worked together in the past, but Lat suggested that Greenhouse would also be a helpful ally for Koh if he were ever named to the Supreme Court since her words carry significant power to frame the public elements of Court debates.
Koh was angered by the story — it included a fictionalized “account” of deliberations surrounding the award — but he stopped short of denying it. Before Koh awarded her the prize, Greenhouse said in an e-mail that Koh would make a “fabulous” Supreme Court justice.
In addition to noting that Koh “stopped short of denying it,” we would emphasize the following about our story:
1. We reported that Linda Greenhouse would be receiving the Award of Merit well before its public announcement. So even if our account of the deliberations was “fictionalized,” as we ourselves noted, it was obviously based on information from a source on the inside (i.e., someone privy to Greenhouse’s selection).
2. It’s not pointed out in the article, but we are YLS alums, as were the sources for our story. So at least some Yale Law School alumni harbor concerns about Dean Koh’s leadership.
But perhaps these concerns are overblown. Conservatives are on to Dean Koh; he’s no “stealth nominee.” And unless the Democrats have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, as well as the White House, his confirmation would be a near impossibility. As Glenn Reynolds notes, in understated fashion, “the worry seems a bit premature.”
At Law School, Koh Is Liberal Lion [Yale Daily News via How Appealing]
Koh Considered Likely Candidate for Court [Yale Daily News]
The Scary Prospect of Harold Koh as Potential SCOTUS Nominee [Professor Bainbridge]
Profile of Yale Law Dean Harold Koh [Volokh Conspiracy]
Harold Koh for Supreme Court? [Instapundit]
Yale Law: A Harold Koh Profile [WSJ Law Blog]
Earlier: Attention, Concerned Alumni of Yale: Justice Alito Gets (Green)housed
Harold and Linda, Sittin’ in a Tree…