The Lawfare Podcast

The Lawfare Podcast, Episode #99: Jack Goldsmith on "Obama's War Powers Legacy"

By Benjamin Wittes
Saturday, November 8, 2014, 1:55 PM

Last month, Jack gave a talk at the Hoover Institution on President Obama's war powers legacy. It's a remarkable address: hard-hitting, clear, and sure to discomfort Obama's defenders on war powers issues. In essence, Jack argues that Obama has gone way beyond President Bush in the aggressiveness of his approach vis a vis Congress to initiating overseas conflict. Over at the Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf writes of the speech that:

Barack Obama has "dramatically expanded" the notion of when presidents can use force without permission. He has left "an extraordinary legacy of war powers." History will assign far more importance to these precedents than we do. They make it significantly easier for future presidents to wage war unilaterally.

Those may sound like the concerns of an anti-war activist. In fact, they're the conclusions of Jack Goldsmith. . . . In a recent speech, he cited three specific ways that Obama expanded the war power beyond anything attempted by the Bush administration.