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.

Filter By:

Topic

Type

Recent Commentary

Featured

The Constitutionality Of The Syria Strike Through The Eyes Of OLC (And The Obama Administration)

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Friday, April 7, 2017

“The opinions of judges, no less than executives and publicists, often suffer the infirmity of confusing the issue of a power's validity with the cause it is invoked to promote, of confounding the permanent executive office with its temporary occupant,” wrote the esteemed Robert Jackson in the first paragraph of the most celebrated opinion in the most famous presidential power decision in Supreme Court history.

Featured

The “Grand Bargain” At Risk: What’s At Stake When The President Alleges Politics In Intelligence

by Jack Goldsmith, Benjamin Wittesvia Lawfare
Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The U.S. intelligence community is on the verge of a crisis of confidence and legitimacy it has not experienced since the 1970s. Back then, the crisis was one of the community’s own behavior. In the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s the intelligence community used its secret powers of surveillance and other forms of government coercion—often but not always at the behest of its political superiors—to spy on and engage in operations against Americans for political ends. 

Featured

Cautionary Notes On A Select Committee For The Russia Matter

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Monday, March 27, 2017

I agree with Susan and Ben that an independent national commission to investigate the Russia matter is, at this time, unrealistic. But I’m unconvinced by their argument that a select congressional committee—a specially formed committee in one or both houses of Congress, with special staffing and resources—would be an improvement on the three committees now investigating the matter.

How Hard Is It To Work For President Trump?

by Jack Goldsmith
Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Wall Street Journal has a surprisingly tough editorial urging President Trump to stop the “seemingly endless stream of exaggerations, evidence-free accusations, implausible denials and other falsehoods.” The thrust of the editorial is that Trump’s mendacity is hurting his presidency.

Featured

The Trump Onslaught On International Law And Institutions

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Friday, March 17, 2017

Two months in to the Trump administration, we are witnessing the beginnings of the greatest presidential onslaught on international law and international institutions in American history. The onslaught appears to be driven by a combination of economic nationalism, anti-cosmopolitanism, anti-elitism, a belief that international law does not reflect American values but threatens American institutions, and a related belief that “American peace, prestige, and prosperity were not being served by our foreign policy.”

Featured

Yes, Trump Is Being Held Accountable

by Jack Goldsmithvia The New York Times
Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Many critics of President Trump, including a sizable number of Democrats in the Republican-controlled Congress, are wary about the incipient congressional investigations of Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election and the possibly related Russian entanglements with the Trump administration and campaign. 

Featured

McGahn Should Have Preempted The (Latest) Flynn Mess

by Jack Goldsmithvia Lawfare
Saturday, March 11, 2017

Over at Daily Beast I explain why I think White House Counsel Don McGahn should have discovered and fixed Michael Flynn's foreign agent problems long before Flynn became National Security Advisor.

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.

Featured

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.

Featured

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.”

Pages