Power and Constraint: The Accountable Presidency After 9/11

Faculty Division and the American Enterprise Institute

Event Video

Power and Constraint: The Accountable Presidency After 9/11Conventional wisdom holds that the 9/11 attacks ushered in a new era of unchecked Presidential power. But in his provocative new book, "Power and Constraint: The Accountable Presidency After 9/11," Harvard Law Professor Jack Goldsmith argues that while post 9/11 presidents have exercised far-reaching powers with respect to detention, trials, targeted killings, surveillance and state secrets, they have been more accountable for their national security decisions than ever before, as a result of constraints enforced by congressional committees, government lawyers, courts, and the media. The result, according to Goldsmith, has been to preserve a balanced constitution in the face of a seemingly permanent state of emergency. But how real is this new found Presidential accountability? How desirable is it? How true to our original Constitution? Who decides?


  • Prof. Jack Goldsmith, Harvard Law School
  • Mr. Neal Katyal, Hogan Lovells
  • Ms. Dana Priest, The Washington Post
  • Prof. Jeremy Rabkin, George Mason University School of Law
  • Moderator: Hon. C. Boyden Gray, Founding Partner, Boyden Gray & Associates
  • Introduction: Hon. Lee Liberman Otis, Senior Vice President & Faculty Division Director, The Federalist Society