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Thursday, April 2, 2009
Kincaid Peddles Scare Tactics on Obama Nominee
Topic: Accuracy in Media

In a April 1 Accuracy in Media column, Cliff Kincaid attacks Harold Hongju Koh, the dean of Yale Law School whom President Obama has nominated as State Department legal adviser, claiming that Koh "has extremely radical views that seem to subordinate U.S. laws and the U.S. Constitution to so-called international law" and that "one has to conclude that Koh believes in a world government financed by global taxes" and "wants to see this dangerous New World Order implemented."

In fact, Kincaid's just repeating discredited right-wing talking points. As Dahlia Lithwick at Slate details:

The underlying legal charge from the right is that Koh is a "transnationalist" who seeks to subjugate all of America to elite international courts. We've heard these claims from conservative critics before. They amount to just this: The mere acknowledgment that a body of law exists outside the United States is tantamount to claiming that America is enslaved to that law. The recognition that international law even exists somehow transforms the U.S. Supreme Court into a sort of intermediate court of appeals that must answer to the Dreaded Court of Elitist European Preferences.

But Kincaid isn't really interested in truth. He spends much of his column playing guilt-by-association by citing the purported one-world-government leanings of Koh's "acknowledged mentor," whom Kincaid calls "a dangerous crackpot."

Kincaid also writes of Koh: "Some say he even would allow the application of Islamic Shariah law in the U.S."That claim is apparently rooted in a letter by lawyer Steven J. Stein that he cc'd to National Review regarding a speech Koh gave, in which Stein cited cherry-picked Koran verses. But as Richard Bartholomew notes: "Islamic law is a complex phenomenon that has developed in many different ways, and only a fool would suggest it can be encapsulated in a few random sanguinary verses from the Koran."

Further, at least one conservative anti-Koh blogger has pointed out the spuriousness of that charge, calling it "an unsubstantiated overheard and poorly commented handoff from a Koh staffer. The thing is attacking him on being pro Sharia is easily refuted by looking back at some 2007 House testimony he gave."

But Kincaid doesn't want you to know about that.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:11 PM EDT

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