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

Analysis and Commentary

Can we stop the global cyber arms race?

by Jack Goldsmithvia Washington Post
Monday, February 1, 2010

In a speech this month on "Internet freedom," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton decried the cyberattacks that threaten U.S. economic and national security interests. . . .

Analysis and Commentary

No place to write detention policy

by Jack Goldsmith, Benjamin Wittesvia Washington Post
Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Since U.S. forces started taking alleged terrorists to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the task of crafting American detention policy has migrated decisively from the executive branch to federal judges. . . .

The KSM Trial Will Be Fair Enough

by Jack Goldsmithvia Slate
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
The Obama administration's decision to prosecute Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a civilian court has brought charges from across the political spectrum that his trial will be unfair and thus illegitimate. Critics have articulated three separate concerns.
Analysis and Commentary

Holder's reasonable decision

by Jack Goldsmithvia Washington Post
Friday, November 20, 2009

Reasonable minds can disagree about Attorney General Eric Holder's decision to prosecute Khalid Sheik Mohammed and four other alleged Sept. 11 perpetrators in a Manhattan federal court. . . .

Analysis and Commentary

Defend America, One Laptop at a Time

by Jack Goldsmithvia New York Times
Wednesday, July 1, 2009

OUR economy, energy supply, means of transportation and military defenses are dependent on vast, interconnected computer and telecommunications networks...

Analysis and Commentary

Will Obama Follow Bush Or FDR?

by Benjamin Wittes, Jack Goldsmithvia Washington Post
Monday, June 29, 2009

The Cheney Fallacy

by Jack Goldsmithvia New Republic
Monday, May 18, 2009

Former Vice President Cheney says that President Obama's reversal of Bush-era terrorism policies endangers American security. The Obama administration, he charges, has "moved to take down a lot of those policies we put in place that kept the nation safe for nearly eight years from a follow-on terrorist attack like 9/11.

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...