Harold Koh and the Filing of Statements of Interest
One of the remarkable differences between the Obama Administration and the Bush Administration in terms of international litigation is the utter silence of this State Department in filing amicus briefs and/or statements of interest. I know that Harold Koh has only been Legal Adviser since June and Sarah Cleveland has only been Counselor on International Law since September, but I frankly am quite surprised by the passivity of this State Department on matters of international litigation. John Bellinger filed at least two dozen statements of interest and/or amicus briefs in Bush’s second term. Beyond responding to the Supreme Court’s invitation to file a government brief in Abbott v. Abbott, Koh has filed only one amicus brief, opposing a pro se prisoner’s claim before the Third Circuit in McPherson v. United States that the plaintiff had an individual right to challenge a violation of the VCCR.