I was a student of Harold Koh's about 20 years ago. We have not kept in close touch since, although I do see him at the occasional conference or alumni event.
The Harold Koh I knew was a pretty cautious and conservative guy. He generally took the conservative view in his national security law class, and tended to praise the people who expressed right-wing views (e.g. on judicial inability to interfere with the executive), much more than the left. If he harbored many views even a hair to the left of center, he kept them well hidden while tearing into the paper of mine he supervised. I admired him as a serious, disciplined scholar, and have tried to model one or two of my habits on what I saw of his.
Watching him from a distance, it has seemed that he has gradually become a bit more liberal politically as the country has been in the grip of a kleptocratic gang masquerading as conservatives, and has been particularly forceful on traditional issues such as being against torture and for decency. Really radical stuff. And he's certainly been a tremendous Dean for Yale Law School.
Thus it's shocking to learn about The Scary Prospect of Harold Koh as Potential SCOTUS Nominee from none less than ProfessorBainbridge.com®.
“There can be no doubt,” writes ProfessorBainbridge.com®, “but that Koh would be a liberal activist of a stripe we haven't seen since Brennan and Marshall. The personal policy preferences of elite left-liberal salons would rule, rather than the rule of law.”
Now, I'm as unwilling as the next guy to have the country run by any salon, even SALON®. But really, Harold Koh as a wild liberal activist? I don't think so. Much as I like him.