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State Department’s chief lawyer returning to Yale Law

Harold Hongju Koh is expected to return to his professorship next month

Rumors are circulating that a top member of President Obama’s legal task force is on his way out.

According to the Wall Street Journal Law Blog, Harold Hongju Koh, the State Department’s chief lawyer, is expected to return to his professorship at Yale Law School next month.

Koh is known for his hawkish views and supports the drone war against militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan. His legal stance surprised some observers because of his previous jobs and opinions. During the Clinton administration, he served as assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor. And during the George W. Bush administration, when he was dean at Yale Law, he criticized the executive branch’s assertions that the president had nearly unlimited war powers. Senate Republicans delayed Koh’s confirmation as the State Department’s chief lawyer in 2009 because they said they feared he wouldn’t adequately defend American sovereignty.

According to Yale Law’s class schedule for early next year, Koh is scheduled to teach two courses. Nonetheless, Koh has not yet publicly announced his plans to leave his position.

Speculation about Koh’s department comes just after the top lawyer in the Department of Defense announced that he would step down at the end of the year.

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Ashley Post

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