Jack Goldsmith

Senior Fellow
Biography: 

Jack Goldsmith is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the Henry L. Shattuck Professor of Law at Harvard University. From 2003 to 2004, he served as the assistant attorney general, Office of Legal Counsel; from 2002 to 2003 he served as the special counsel to the general counsel of the Department of Defense. Goldsmith also taught at the University of Chicago Law School from 1997 to 2002 and at the University of Virginia Law School from 1994 to 1997.

In his academic work, Goldsmith has written widely on issues related to national security law, presidential power, international law, and Internet regulation. His books include Power and Constraint: The Accountable Presidency after 9/11 (2012), The Terror Presidency: Law and Judgment inside the Bush Administration (2009), Who Controls the Internet: Illusions of a Borderless World (with Tim Wu) (2006), and The Limits of International Law (with Eric Posner) (2005). He blogs on national security matters at the Lawfare blog,and on issues of labor law and policy at the On Labor blog.

Goldsmith is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He holds a JD from Yale Law School, a BA and an MA from Oxford University, and a BA from Washington & Lee University. He clerked for Supreme Court justice Anthony M. Kennedy, Court of Appeals judge J. Harvie Wilkinson, and Judge George Aldrich on the Iran-US Claims Tribunal.

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Recent Commentary

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More Harmful Public Hand-Wringing On Possible Sanctions Against China For Cyber Theft

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Monday, August 31, 2015

“The Obama administration is developing a package of unprecedented economic sanctions against Chinese companies and individuals who have benefited from their government’s cyber theft of valuable U.S. trade secrets,” reports Ellen Nakashima’s in the Post.

Analysis and Commentary

The United States’ Feckless Cyber Deterrence Policy

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Saturday, August 1, 2015

David Sanger has a very damning story on the USG’s struggles to figure out how to respond to the OPM hack. It has decided it has to do something, Sanger tells us, but it cannot decide what to do, or whether to do it publicly or privately, and it worries about sparking escalation that would worsen the situation.

Analysis and Commentary

More Weak Arguments For The Illegality Of The Iran Deal

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Monday, July 27, 2015

David Rivkin and Lee Casey maintain in the WSJ that the Iranian Nuclear Deal “is unconstitutional, violates international law and features commitments that President Obama could not lawfully make,” and that “state and local Iran-related sanctions” might “set off a legal clash over American domestic law and the country’s international obligations” that could “prompt the deal to unravel.”

Analysis and Commentary

Why Congress Is Effectively Powerless To Stop The Iran Deal (And Why The Answer Is Not The Iran Review Act)

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Monday, July 20, 2015

Andrew McCarthy is once again blaming the poor Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act for Congress’s inability to stop the President from implementing the Iran deal.

Analysis and Commentary

The Complicated Politics Of The Iran Review Act (And Why I Think They Cut In Favor of the Act)

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Tuesday, July 14, 2015

When critics of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act are confronted with the fact that the Act delays the President's ability to implement U.S. sanctions relief under the Iran Deal for 60 days, they sometimes switch to arguments about why the politics of the Review Act are nonetheless bad.

Analysis and Commentary

Thank The Iran Review Act For The Upcoming Debate About The Iran Deal

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Tuesday, July 14, 2015

So the Iran deal is done, and now we can move to debate it. It is very important to note that but for the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, President Obama could have lifted U.S. sanctions today under waivers and related provisions that Congress in the past gave him.

Analysis and Commentary

Foreign Relations Law Casebook Supplement

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Thursday, July 2, 2015

Here is the summer 2015 supplement for my casebook (with Curtis Bradley), Foreign Relations Law: Cases and Materials (5th ed. 2014).

Escape From Gitmo

by Jane Harman, Jack Goldsmithvia Hoover Digest
Friday, June 19, 2015

The legal path out of our long Guantánamo nightmare.

Analysis and Commentary

Why The Weak And Hesitant Response To The OPM Breach?

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Saturday, June 13, 2015

The NYT reports that the Obama administration is “considering financial sanctions against the attackers [from China] who gained access to the files of millions of federal workers” in from Office of Personnel Management computers.

Analysis and Commentary

Lawfare And The IDF Lawyers

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Thursday, June 11, 2015

Willy Stern has a very interesting essay at the Weekly Standard about “Dabla,” the Israeli Defense Force’s elite operational lawyers.

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