05/17/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The Koh Kerfuffle: The Company You Keep

Back in the 1960s, when my dad was the editor of the Ypsilanti Press, the city held a referendum on whether to fluoridate the water supply. My dad decided to publish an editorial listing those in favor of and those opposed to the measure. Supporters included doctors, dentists, businesses, union locals, civic organizations -- almost everyone in town. Three groups opposed the proposal: an organization that believed that fluoridation was a Communist plot; the John Birch Society; and the Ku Klux Klan.

The measure passed overwhelmingly.

In the spirit of my father's editorial, I offer the following lists of those supporting and those opposing President Obama's nomination of Harold Hongju Koh to serve as Legal Adviser in the Department of State.

Here is a partial list of those who have spoken out in support of Koh's nomination:

  • John Bellinger, former Legal Adviser, Department of State (Bush Administration).
  • Brian G. Cartwright, former General Counsel, Securities and Exchange Commission (Bush Administration).
  • W. Cole Durham, Jr., a Professor of Law at Bringham Young University.
  • David D. Hiller, former Associate Deputy Attorney General and Special Assistant to the Attorney General (Reagan Administration) and former Publisher of The Chicago Tribune and The Los Angeles Times.
  • Rear Admiral (ret.) John Hutson, former Judge Advocate General of the U.S. Navy and currently Dean of the Franklin Pierce Law Center.
  • Frank Jimenez, former Acting General Counsel, Governor Jeb Bush; former General Counsel, U.S. Navy; former Chief of Staff, Department of Housing and Urban Development (last two positions during the Bush Administration).
  • Marcos Daniel Jimenez, former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida (Bush Administration).
  • Roberto Martinez, former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida (G.H.W. Bush Administration) and Special Counsel to (then-) Florida Attorney-General Charlie Crist.
  • Theodore Olson, former Solicitor-General (Bush Administration).
  • Norman Ornstein, Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute.
  • Kenneth Starr, former Solicitor General (G.H.W. Bush Administration) and Dean of the Pepperdine University School of Law.
  • Alan Charles Raul, former Associate Counsel to President Reagan, among other positions.
  • Nicholas Rostow, former Special Assistant for National Security to Presidents Reagan and G.H.W. Bush, among other positions.
  • William H. Taft IV, former Legal Adviser, Department of State (Bush Administration).
  • Michael Young, former Chairman, U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, and President of the University of Utah.
Here is a list of those who have spoken out in opposition to Koh's nomination: Those on both lists have one thing in common: they describe themselves as conservatives. In addition, many -- almost all of Koh's supporters and even a couple of his opponents -- have served in Republican administrations.

George Washington once said, "Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company."

Judge for yourself which group you find more credible.

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