The Terror Presidency: Law and Judgment Inside the Bush Administration

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W. W. Norton & Company, 2007 - Political Science - 256 pages
Jack Goldsmith's duty as head of the Office of Legal Counsel was to advise President Bush what he could and could not do...legally. Goldsmith took the job in October 2003 and began to review the work of his predecessors. Their opinions were the legal framework governing the conduct of the military and intelligence agencies in the war on terror, and he found many--especially those regulating the treatment and interrogation of prisoners--that were deeply flawed.

Goldsmith is a conservative lawyer who understands the imperative of averting another 9/11. But his unflinching insistence that we abide by the law put him on a collision course with powerful figures in the administration. Goldsmith's fascinating analysis of parallel legal crises in the Lincoln and Roosevelt administrations shows why Bush's apparent indifference to human rights has damaged his presidency and, perhaps, his standing in history.

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User Review  - ktsbentley - LibraryThing

I found this book to have some really interesting points and a point of view not often expressed. It was interesting to see some of the controversies of the Bush Presidency discussed in purely legal ... Read full review

Selected pages


The New Job
The Commander in Chief Ensnared by Law
Fear and OLC
When Lawyers Make Terrorism Policy
Torture and the Dilemmas of Presidential Lawyering
The Terror Presidency

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Page 6 - That comprehensive and undefined presidential powers hold both practical advantages and grave dangers for the country will impress anyone who has served as legal adviser to a President in time of transition and public anxiety. While an interval of detached reflection may temper teachings of that experience, they probably are a more realistic influence on my views than the conventional materials of judicial decision which seem unduly to accentuate doctrine and legal fiction.

About the author (2007)

Jack Goldsmith is the Henry L. Shattuck Professor of Law at Harvard University. From October 2003 to June 2004 he was assistant attorney general, Office of Legal Counsel. He lives in Newton, Massachusetts.

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