Abraham D. Sofaer

George P. Shultz Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy and National Security Affairs, Emeritus
Biography: 

Abraham D. Sofaer was appointed the first George P. Shultz Distinguished Scholar and Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution in 1994. Named in honor of former US secretary of state George P. Shultz, the appointment is awarded to a senior scholar whose broad vision, knowledge, and skill will be brought to bear on the problems presented by a radically transformed global environment.

Sofaer's work focuses on the power over war within the US government and on issues related to international law, terrorism, diplomacy, and national security. His most recent books are Taking on Iran: Strength, Diplomacy, and the Iranian Threat (Hoover Institution Press, 2013) and The Best Defense?: Legitimacy and Preventive Force (Hoover Institution Press, 2010).

From 1985 to 1990, he served as a legal adviser to the US Department of State, where he resolved several interstate matters, including the dispute between Egypt and Israel over Taba, the claim against Iraq for its attack on the USS Stark, and the claims against Chile for the assassination of Orlando Letelier. He received the Distinguished Service Award in 1989, the highest state department award given to a non–civil servant.

From 1979 to 1985, Sofaer served as a US district judge in the Southern District of New York. From 1969 to 1979, he was a professor of law at Columbia University School of Law and wrote War, Foreign Affairs, and Constitutional Power: The Origins. From 1967 to 1969, he was an assistant US attorney in the Southern District of New York, after clerking for Judge J. Skelly Wright on the US Court of Appeals in Washington, DC, and the Honorable William J. Brennan Jr. on the US Supreme Court. He practiced law at Hughes, Hubbard and Reed from 1990 to 1994.

A veteran of the US Air Force, Sofaer received an LLB degree from New York University School of Law in 1965, where he was editor in chief of the law review. He holds a BA in history from Yeshiva College (1962). Sofaer is a founding trustee of the National Museum of Jazz in Harlem and a member of the board of the Koret Foundation.

His research papers are available at the Hoover Institution Archives.

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Summary of submissions on whether the declaration lodged by the Palestinian National Authority meets statutory requirements

by David Davenport, Abraham D. Sofaervia International Criminal Court (ICC)
Monday, May 3, 2010

David Davenport, Kenneth Anderson, Samuel Estreicher, Eugene Kontorovich, Julian G. Ku, and Abraham D. Sofaer, The Palestinian Declaration and ICC jurisdiction, 19 November 2009...

Obama NSS To Drop Preemption

by Abraham D. Sofaervia Advancing a Free Society
Monday, May 3, 2010

The Obama Administration will soon issue its first National Security Strategy (“NSS”). How will it compare with those issued in 2002 and 2006 by the Bush Administration?

Ask the Expert: Abe Sofaer

by Abraham D. Sofaervia Advancing a Free Society
Monday, April 26, 2010

Abe Sofaer, the the George P. Shultz Distinguished Scholar and Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, hosted a forum with Stanford University students to discuss his new book, The Best Defense? Legitimacy & Preventive Force.

The Best Defense

by Abraham D. Sofaervia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Preventive action may be legally dubious but morally justified. International law must confront the question of legitimacy. By Abraham D. Sofaer.

The Best Defense

by Abraham D. Sofaervia Advancing a Free Society
Thursday, April 15, 2010

After 9/11, President Bush announced that he would do whatever was necessary to prevent future terrorist attacks against the United States.

Analysis and Commentary

Throw the bums out!

by Abraham D. Sofaervia Los Angeles Times
Friday, February 19, 2010

Either the Legislature and the governor do their jobs on the budget, or out they go. . . .

The Best Defense? Legitimacy and Preventive Force by Hoover Fellow Abraham D. Sofaer

The Best Defense?: Legitimacy and Preventive Force

by Abraham D. Sofaervia Books by Hoover Fellows
Thursday, February 11, 2010

Drawing from the findings of the Stanford Task Force on Preventive Force, Abraham Sofaer offers a practical guide to identifying and considering the issues relevant to preventive uses of force, in the hope that such uses of force, if undertaken, will advance national and inter

Analysis and Commentary

The Best Defense?

by Abraham D. Sofaervia Foreign Affairs
Friday, January 1, 2010

Some threats to international security are so potentially damaging that preventing them in advance is preferable to remedying their effects. . . .

Analysis and Commentary

To heal post-‘Rachel’ rift, federation needs a new policy

by Abraham D. Sofaervia JWeekly (CA)
Thursday, October 22, 2009

The ad from the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation in the Sept. 16 j. was commendable in acknowledging the egregious errors made by the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival...

Should the United States stamp out threats abroad even when other nations refuse to act? By Abraham D. Sofaer

Unto the Breach

by Abraham D. Sofaervia Hoover Digest
Thursday, January 22, 2009

Should the United States stamp out threats abroad even when other nations refuse to act? By Abraham D. Sofaer.

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