In an op/ed published in the American University student paper, graduating 3L Nicholas Devyatkin voiced his dismay at having Harold Koh speak at the school's commencement ceremony. He's begun circulating a petition to disinvite Koh, and while the link is broken, he writes in his op/ed that he does have at least two allies on the issue.
And then he names them.
We're not going to repeat the names here, because good God man, how big of an idiot do you have to be to write an opinion piece and insert the line "So-and-So and What's-Her-Face feel the same way"? It's fine for them to agree, but you don't go slapping other people's names on your opinion piece, lest they be marred by anything idiotic you say and have their Google footprints be forever tarnished by their association with you, as your "friend and ally"
The meat of the complaint is that Koh defended Obama's use of targeted killings with drones. Devyatkin doesn't have a problem with inviting a divisive political figure. Not at all. In response to Koh calling President Bush "Torturer in Chief," Devy writes "Sounds good."
No, the problem with Koh is that Devypaleo thinks he's on the wrong side of the issue. Drones kill folks, and American University is a hippy liberal institution:
WCL is the "hippy-dippy, liberal school." Yea, we are those people. The human rights advocates, anti-death penalty advocates, the defenders of the indigent and the youth, the environmentalists, the warriors for the underpaid, the exploited and the oppressed. Many of us came to WCL specifically to work with some of the finest human rights advocates in the world, including Grossman, chair of the United Nations Committee against Torture.
Lets first spend a moment snickering at the people who came to WCL (Washington College of Law, American's other name) specifically to work. Jokes on you, suckas! 29th worst school for producing working lawyers, 24th worst school for producing under-employed grads. At least you're getting a new campus. Maybe you can convert the old building into a homeless shelter for all your unemployed students.
Now that we have that out of the way, every freaking law school in the country thinks its the hippy institution that cares about the little guy and the environment and human rights. You're not special.
You're also not very smart, no matter how much you want to sing the praises of your law school:
Some have said that, as a government official, he probably felt obligated to take such a stance. Great message to send to a group of graduating law students: feel free to fudge the law to suit political ends and to satisfy your boss.
Since American grads aren't likely to ever represent clients, it's understandable that you wouldn't get this, but it is actually your job to represent your clients and to serve as an advocate for their positions. When the client says "find a theory that works" you do that, even if it's a weak theory. You can counsel your client on the weaknesses of the theory, but it's not your job to set your client's policy positions.
An attorney who can talk about the realities of practice and the moral and ethical stresses of legal work is exactly the type of person you should want speaking at graduation. You should be taking this as an opportunity to learn from someone who has achieved one of the highest offices a lawyer can aspire to. If you disagree with his policies or the policies of the administration he serves, by all means write an op/ed explaining why he's wrong. His presence for commencement would make the article timely and relevant. But what you shouldn't be doing is trying to block him from speaking just because you think he's wrong. You're going to deal with a lot of people you think are wrong in the future, and it's going to be your job to hear them out, and many times those people will be your clients, so even after you agree to disagree on the issues, you're still going to have to find a way to represent their interests, not your own.
PS: Your headline, "Koh does not represent WCL" is idiotic in the extreme. No one thinks a commencement speaker represents the school. And your placement in the Eagle is even worse. You've got a local law school that some people still think is prestigious and a major political figure. If you wanted to discuss why he's a bad choice, you could find a mainstream media outlet to run your op/ed.
[Read the op/ed here]