Bruce Ackerman

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Bruce Ackerman is Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science at Yale, and the author of eighteen books that have had a broad influence in political philosophy, constitutional law, and public policy. His major works include "Social Justice in the Liberal State" and his multivolume constitutional history, "We the People."

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AUMF: Scope and Reach

A Critique of the Trump Administration’s Case for Presidential War Making

On Dec. 11, the New York City Bar Association hosted a session on “The Global War on Terrorism: Do We Need a New AUMF?” William Castle, deputy general counsel of the Department of Defense, explained why the Trump administration contends that the 2001 and 2002 authorizations for the use of military force (AUMF) suffice to justify President Donald Trump’s ongoing war against terrorist groups.


Smith v. Trump In the D.C. Circuit: A Guided Tour of the Oral Argument

Together with David Remes, I presented Capt. Nathan Smith's challenge to the war against the Islamic State before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on Oct. 27. Judge Thomas Griffith presided, with Judges David Sentelle and Raymond Randolph, joining in a wide-ranging discussion of doctrine and cases that touched on many national security law problems. While the court had officially granted 15 minutes to each side, the hearing lasted for more than an hour. The court has provided a recording of the argument.

Donald Trump

Brief for Captain Nathan Smith's Challenge to Presidential War-making

Here is the brief for Captain Smith that was filed yesterday afternoon in the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, along with the joint appendix. The case will be ready for argument later this spring. The brief represents a great deal of new research into the fundamental issues by David Remes, myself and a team of Yale law students.

War Powers

A Response to the Government's Brief in Capt. Smith v. Obama

The government has just filed its brief responding to Captain Smith’s challenge to the president’s unilateral war against ISIS. The government’s lengthy brief cites more than eighty judicial decisions, but fails to mention the Steel Seizure Case – where Justice Jackson explained that, even in matters of national security, presidential power is at “its lowest ebb” when the commander-in-chief violates express Congressional statutes.