Harvard Law School Professor Jack Goldsmith was a guest on National Public Radio’s On Point on June 28, discussing presidential war powers and Congressional authority in relation to the United States’ current military action in Libya.
Goldsmith joined Princeton University Professor Julian Zelizer, Nancy Youssef (Pentagon correspondent, McClatchy Newspapers), and Congressman Jim Moran (representative for Virginia’s 8th congressional district) in debating the legality of President Obama’s decision to take military action against Libya just over 100 days ago. The debate focused on whether or not the administration is in violation of the War Powers Resolution of 1973, an act that requires the President to seek Congressional approval for any overseas military action that lasts beyond 60 days.
Goldsmith questioned the administration’s refusal to seek approval and funding for the ongoing presence of U.S. troops in Libya. “Presidents ask for trouble and they get into trouble when they use force abroad for an extended period of time without congressional approval,” said Goldsmith. He argued that the administration could have received approval within a few weeks of the beginning of the conflict: “[It] would have been a battle, a fight of the type the administration doesn’t like, but they could have gotten support.”
Goldsmith is the Henry L. Shattuck Professor at Harvard Law School, where he teaches and writes about national security law, presidential power, cybersecurity, international law, Internet law, foreign relations law, and conflict of laws. Before coming to Harvard, Professor Goldsmith served as assistant attorney general, Office of Legal Counsel from 2003-2004, and special counsel to the Department of Defense from 2002-2003. Goldsmith is the author of “The Terror Presidency: Law and Judgment Inside the Bush Administration” (W.W. Norton & Company, 2007).