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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Analysis and Commentary

Notable & Quotable: The Real Trump Danger

by Jack Goldsmithvia The Wall Street Journal
Thursday, February 16, 2017

[Subscription Required] From “The Real Constitutional Danger” by Jack Goldsmith at Lawfare.com on February 14.

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More Questions About McGahn In The Flynn Imbroglio

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Washington Post reported on Monday that it was “unclear what the White House counsel, Donald McGahn, did” when Acting Attorney General Sally Yates told him last month that Michael Flynn had misled senior administration officials about his phone conversation with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

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The Real Constitutional Danger

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Tuesday, February 14, 2017

It is more than a little amusing, in light of the events of the last week, that we still see concerns about whether “we’re in a constitutional crisis” due to excessive presidential power, and about “how much … the early days of the Trump administration look like the Third Reich,” and about how the United States is part of a global movement on a downward spiral toward “repressive kleptocracy.”

Analysis and Commentary

The Spotlight Will Now Shift To The White House Counsel

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Tuesday, February 14, 2017

I was pretty hard on White House Counsel Donald McGahn in connection with the horrible roll-out of the Trump Executive Order on immigration, and his inability or disinclination to control the President’s self-destructive attack on courts.

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The Practical Legal Need For An ISIL AUMF

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Wednesday, February 8, 2017

“The Trump White House is nearing completion of an order that would direct the Pentagon to bring future Islamic State detainees to the Guantánamo Bay prison,” reports Charlie Savage. This development gives new urgency to the enactment of an ISIL AUMF.

Analysis and Commentary

Does Trump Want To Lose The EO Battle In Court? Or Is Donald McGahn Simply Ineffectual (Or Worse)?

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Monday, February 6, 2017

I’m starting to believe that either Donald Trump wants courts to strike down the Immigration Executive order, or that his White House Counsel is incompetent or ineffectual.

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A Precedent For Democrats On The Classy Way To Handle Neil Gorsuch

by Jack Goldsmith, Benjamin Wittesvia Lawfare
Thursday, February 2, 2017

Neil Gorsuch is an eminent jurist who is undoubtedly qualified to be an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court. So too is Merrick Garland.

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Quick Thoughts On Sally Yates’ Unpersuasive Statement

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Monday, January 30, 2017

Acting Attorney General Sally Yates—who was Barack Obama’s Deputy Attorney General and has been running DOJ until Jeff Sessions is confirmed—today sent a letter to top Justice Department officials announcing that she will “will not present arguments in defense of” President Trump’s controversial Immigration Executive Order “unless and until I become convinced that it is appropriate to do so.” In response, President Trump just fired her.

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The Other Forever War

by Jack Goldsmith, Matthew Waxmanvia Hoover Digest
Friday, January 27, 2017

It’s been two long years since we launched a war against the Islamic State, yet the American people have never had a chance to debate it—or consent to the sacrifices it entails. 

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Trump’s Self-Defeating Executive Order On Interrogation

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Below are some very quick initial thoughts on President’s Trump’s Executive Order on Detention and Interrogation of Enemy Combatants.

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