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

Featured

The Ease Of Writing An OLC Opinion In Support Of Military Action Against North Korea

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Thursday, September 14, 2017

I’ve been asked a lot recently about the President’s power under Article II to order a military strike on North Korea in the absence of congressional authorization. The proper meaning of Article II on this question is contested and I won’t offer my views on that here. But the only opinion about Article II that effectively matters on this question is the Executive branch’s. 

How Trump Is Destroying America

by Jack Goldsmith
Tuesday, September 12, 2017

He disdains the rule of law. He’s trampling norms of presidential behavior. And he’s bringing vital institutions down with him.

Analysis and Commentary

What If President Trump Orders Secretary Of Defense Mattis To Do Something Deeply Unwise?

by Sarah Grant, Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Plausible hypotheticals sparked by recent events raise the question whether the Secretary of Defense or someone else high up in the chain of command must obey a presidential order he or she deems deeply unwise. May the Secretary of Defense refuse an order to initiate preemptive war against North Korea because he believes it is a terrible idea that will result in hundreds of thousands of deaths? What steps might the Secretary take to immunize the U.S. Armed Forces from carrying out such presidential commands?

Our Non-Unitary Executive

by Jack Goldsmith
Sunday, July 30, 2017

Trump’s tweets keep the attention on him, but the operation of some of the most important components of his administration seems entirely disconnected from the President and the White House generally.  

How To Deal With A Kamikaze President

by Jack Goldsmith
Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Donald Trump’s angry morning tweet storm reached another new low with attacks on his Attorney General for not investigating his former presidential opponent, and on his acting FBI Director’s integrity. This and other attacks on key law enforcement figures in his own Executive branch goes far beyond breaking norms of investigatory independence.

Featured

Jack Goldsmith's Interview With Dean Baquet, Executive Editor Of The New York Times, On Publication Decisions About Intelligence Secrets

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Monday, July 24, 2017

On April 25, two days after President Obama announced that a U.S. drone strike accidentally killed two innocent hostages, Mark Mazzetti and Matt Apuzzo published a story in the New York Times about congressional and White House support for the CIA’s “targeted killing program.” A major point in the story was that some of the CIA officers who built the CIA’s drone program also led the CIA’s detention and interrogation program. 

Featured

Loyalty And Principle In The Trump White House

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Friday, July 21, 2017

We don’t yet know why Mark Corallo, the spokesman for President Trump’s personal legal team, resigned yesterday.

Analysis and Commentary

The Trump Interview And DOJ Independence

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Thursday, July 20, 2017

I see the implications of the Trump interview a little differently than Ben does. First, Ben says that the only honorable thing for Attorney General Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein to do in light of Trump’s intemperate attacks is to resign.

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Security by the Book - Destined For War: Can America And China Escape Thucydides's Trap?

by Jack Goldsmith, Graham Allisonvia Lawfare
Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Hoover Institution hosted "Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides's Trap?" on Wednesday, July 12, 2017 from 5:00pm - 7:00pm EST.

Analysis and Commentary

Foreign Relations Law Supplement

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Curtis Bradley and I have completed a 23-page Supplement to the new edition of our casebook, Foreign Relations Law: Cases and Materials (6th Ed. 2017). The Supplement addresses, among other things, litigation over the Trump administration’s executive orders relating to immigration, the administration’s announcement that the United States would withdraw from the Paris climate change agreement, the administration’s missile strikes against Syria in April 2017, and the debates and litigation concerning “sanctuary jurisdictions.”

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