Jack Goldsmith

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Jack Landman Goldsmith, a conservative lawyer and a professor since 2004 at Harvard Law School,[1] is the former head of the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel and a "vocal critic of the Administration's political tactics ... following the recent publication of his book which details his attempts to re-write legal opinions that gave the Administration extraordinary latitude in domestic surveillance, torture and treatment of captives in Afghanistan and Iraq."[2]

Vice President Dick Cheney "blocked [Goldsmith's] promotion ... in retaliation for his role in a review of a government surveillance program that led to the [May 10, 2004,] Intensive Care Unit Showdown,[3] where then White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales and Chief of Staff Andrew Card attempted to persuade a post-op John Ashcroft to give legal cover to the government's secret domestic spying program, according to written answers provided to Congress by former Deputy Attorney General James Comey."[4]

Goldsmith resigned June 17, 2004, with an effective date of July 30, 2004, from the Office of Counsel[5] and was replaced in 2005 by Steven G. Bradbury.

Goldsmith has been a Visiting Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute since 2004 after leaving the Bush administration.[6]

Bush Administration War on Terror Memos

ProPublica notes that "the Bush administration’s "war on terror" - including its controversial policies on detentions, interrogations and warrantless wiretapping - were all underpinned by legal memoranda. While some of those memos have been released ... the former administration chose to keep many others secret, citing security and confidentiality concerns. The decision to release them now lies with President Obama. To help inform the debate - and inject an extra dose of accountability - we’re posting a list of the relevant memos, both public and secret." [1]

Memo authors include John C. Yoo, Steven G. Bradbury, Jay Bybee, James B. Comey, Robert J. Delahunty, Jack Goldsmith, James Ho, Daniel Levin, Patrick Philbin, legal architects (and some internal critics) of the Bush Administration's use of torture and detention policies now being reversed or reviewed by the Obama Administration.

Articles by Jack Goldsmith

Published works by Jack Goldsmith

  • The Terror Presidency: Law and Judgment Inside the Bush Administration, W. W. Norton, September 10, 2007, ISBN-10: 0393065502 / ISBN-13: 978-0393065503.
  • The Limits of International Law with Eric A. Posner, Oxford University Press, November 15, 2006, ISBN-10: 0195314174 / ISBN-13: 978-0195314175.
  • Who Controls the Internet?: Illusions of a Borderless World with Tim Wu, Oxford University Press, February 24, 2006, ISBN-10: 0195152662 / ISBN-13: 978-0195152661.

Professional experience / education

The following information about Goldsmith's professional experience and education comes from his AEI profile.[6]

  • Professor, Harvard Law School, 2004-present
  • Assistant attorney general, Office of Legal Counsel, U.S. Department of Justice, 2003-2004
  • Associate professor, 1994-1997; professor, 2003-2004, University of Virginia School of Law
  • Special counsel to the general counsel, U.S. Department of Defense, 2002-2003
  • Professor, University of Chicago Law School, 1997-2003[7]
  • Associate, Covington & Burling, Washington, D.C., 1992-1994
  • Legal assistant to Judge George Aldrich, Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal, The Netherlands, 1991-1992
  • Law clerk to Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, U.S. Supreme Court, 1990-1991
  • Law clerk to Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, 1989-1990
  • Diploma in Private International Law, Hague Academy of International Law
  • J.D., Yale Law School
  • B.A., M.A., Oxford University
  • B.A., Washington & Lee University


Related SourceWatch articles


  1. "Protect rule of law when fighting terrorism, Goldsmith says in testimony," Harvard University News, October 2, 2007.
  2. "Former Justice Insider, Turned Unlikely Civil Lib Hero, Testifies in Congress," Threat Level Blog/WIRED, October 2, 2007.
  3. Dahlia Lithwick, "Pulling the Plug. Alberto Gonzales browbeats the critically ill," Slate, May 15, 2007.
  4. Ryan Singel, "Cheney Blocked Promotion of Lawyer Who Questioned Wiretapping Program," Threat Level Blog/WIRED, June 7, 2007.
  5. News Release: "Assistant Attorney General Jack Goldsmith to Step Down," U.S. Department of Justice, June 17, 2004.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Scholar: Jack Landman Goldsmith, American Enterprise Institute, accessed October 5, 2007.
  7. Jack L. Goldsmith, Professor of Law, University of Chicago Law School.

External articles






External resources