Jack Goldsmith

Senior Fellow

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

Breaking Camp

by Jack Goldsmith, Benjamin Wittesvia Hoover Digest
Monday, April 20, 2009

If you thought closing the prison at Guantánamo Bay would be easy, you weren’t paying attention. By Jack Goldsmith and Benjamin Wittes.

Terror Presidency - book cover

The Terror Presidency: Law and Judgment Inside the Bush Administration

by Jack Goldsmithvia W. W. Norton & Company
Monday, April 13, 2009

Goldsmith's duty as head of the Office of Legal Counsel was to advise President Bush on what he could and could not do . . . legally. This is Goldsmith's account of the clash between the rule of law and the necessity of defending America.

Analysis and Commentary

Nuts and Deadbolts

by Jack Goldsmith, Benjamin Wittesvia Slate
Monday, December 8, 2008

President-elect Barack Obama has made clear that he will close the Guantanamo Bay detention center...

Analysis and Commentary

No New Torture Probes

by Jack Goldsmithvia Washington Post
Wednesday, November 26, 2008

There has been much speculation about how the Obama administration will deal with what many view as the Bush administration's harsh, abusive and illegal interrogation program...

Jack Goldsmith

Does Europe Believe in International Law?

by Jack Goldsmith, Eric Posnervia Defining Ideas
Tuesday, November 25, 2008

American politicians frequently express their skepticism about international law, while European politicians loudly proclaim its central role in their value systems, even when they are defying it.

Memo to the Next President

by Jack Goldsmithvia Hoover Digest
Sunday, October 12, 2008

Soft power in the war on terror needs to be much more effective. How to sharpen one of the most important soft weapons: the law. By Jack Goldsmith.

Analysis and Commentary

Secrecy and Safety

by Jack Goldsmithvia New Republic
Wednesday, August 13, 2008

In May 1940, defying a congressional ban, President Franklin D. Roosevelt secretly authorized warrantless wiretapping inside the United States...

Jack Goldsmith discusses Lawyers' Surprising Influence on the War on Terrorism.

with Jack Goldsmithvia Uncommon Knowledge
Monday, October 29, 2007

Jack Goldsmith discusses Lawyers' Surprising Influence on the War on Terrorism. (44:40)