In one of his first major actions in office, President Obama declared that the United States would no longer torture terrorism suspects and would close the Guantanamo Bay detention center.
In a "60 Minutes" interview on Sunday, he hit back at former Vice President Cheney's assertions that his moves were making the country less safe.
And today, Obama announced he will nominate one of the most forceful legal critics of the Bush administration's legal rationale for its anti-terror policies as legal adviser to the State Department: Harold Hongju Koh, dean of Yale Law School and a Harvard Law grad.
Obama also announced he will nominate David H. Stevens as assistant housing secretary and federal housing commissioner, and Dr. Yvette Roubideaux as director of the Indian Health Service.
Their mini-biographies, provided by the White House, are below:
David H. Stevens, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Housing and Federal Housing Commissioner, Department of Housing and Urban Development
David H. Stevens is President and Chief Operating Officer of the Long & Foster Companies which includes Long & Foster Real Estate and its Affiliated Businesses including Mortgage, Title, Insurance, and Home Service Connections. Stevens joined the Long & Foster Companies in July 2006 as President of Affiliated Businesses. Prior to this, he served as Executive Vice President, National Wholesale Manager responsible for all sales, operations, and finance for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage’s wholesale channel. Before his work at Wells Fargo, Stevens was Senior Vice President of the Single family business at Freddie Mac where he was responsible for sales, marketing, affordable lending, and product development for the firm. He began his career at World Savings bank, where after 16 years; he was promoted to Group Senior Vice President, National Sales Manager for the mortgage division. Stevens was the founding Executive sponsor of the Woman’s Mortgage Industry Network, and coordinated the first Latino initiative joint venture with Freddie Mac and Latino mortgage industry leaders. Stevens is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Harold Hongju Koh, Nominee for Legal Adviser, State Department
Harold Hongju Koh, Dean and Gerard C. & Bernice Latrobe Smith Professor of International Law at Yale Law School, is one of the country's leading experts on public and private international law, national security law, and human rights. From 1998 to 2001, Koh served as Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. He previously served on the Secretary of State's Advisory Committee on Public International Law. A Marshall Scholar, Koh graduated from Harvard, Oxford, and Harvard Law School, and has received eleven honorary degrees and more than thirty awards for his human rights work, including awards from Columbia Law School and the American Bar Association for his lifetime achievements in International law. Following clerkships with Judge Malcolm Richard Wilkey of the D.C. Circuit and Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun, he served as Attorney-Adviser at the Office of Legal Counsel, Department of Justice and practiced law at Covington & Burling. As a Yale law professor since 1985, Koh has taught courses, authored or co-authored eight books, published more than 170 articles, testified before Congress, and litigated numerous cases involving international law issues. A Fellow of the American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the Council of the American Law Institute, he has served on the Board of Editors of the American Journal of International Law and as a Counselor of the American Society of International Law. He has sat on the boards of Harvard University, the Brookings Institution, Human Rights First, the American Arbitration Association, and the National Democratic Institute. He has been named one of America's "45 Leading Public Sector Lawyers Under The Age of 45" by American Lawyer magazine and one of the "100 Most Influential Asian-Americans of the 1990s" by A Magazine.
Dr. Yvette Roubideaux, Director of Indian Health Service, Department of Health and Human Services
Dr. Yvette Roubideaux is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family & Community Medicine at The University of Arizona College of Medicine. She has conducted extensive research on American Indian health issues, with a focus on diabetes in American Indians/Alaska Natives and American Indian health policy. Roubideaux previously worked in the Indian Health Service as a Medical Officer and Clinical Director on the San Carlos Indian Reservation and in the Gila River Indian Community. Roubideaux, 46, is a member of the Rosebud Sioux tribe. She received her MD from Harvard Medical School and her MPH from the Harvard School of Public Health. She completed the Primary Care Internal Medicine Residency Program at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA. She also completed the Commonwealth Fund/Harvard University Fellowship in Minority Health Policy in 1997. Roubideaux is the Co-Director of the Coordinating Center for the Special Diabetes Program for Indians Competitive Demonstration Projects, a program implementing diabetes prevention and cardiovascular disease prevention activities in 66 American Indian and Alaska Native communities. She also serves as Director of two programs, the UA/ITCA Indians Into Medicine (INMED) Program and the Student Development Core of the ITCA/UA American Indian Research Center for Health, that focus on recruiting American Indian and Alaska Native students into health and research professions. Roubideaux was appointed to the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Minority Health from 2000 – 2002. From 1999-2000, she served as President of the Association of American Indian Physicians. Roubideaux has received numerous awards including the American Diabetes Association’s 2008 Addison B. Scoville Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service and the 2004 Indian Physician of the Year Award from the Association of American Indian Physicians. She is co-editor of the APHA book entitled Promises to Keep: Public Health Policy for American Indians and Alaska Natives in the 21st Century. She has authored several monographs and peer-reviewed publications on American Indian/Alaska Native health issues, research and policy.
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.