Courts & Litigation

The Lawfare Podcast: The Court at War

Jack Goldsmith, Clifford Sloan, Jen Patja
Tuesday, December 26, 2023, 8:01 AM
How were the Supreme Court's decisions during World War II informed by the justices' relationship with President Roosevelt?

Published by The Lawfare Institute
in Cooperation With

The Supreme Court during World War II issued some of the most notorious opinions in its history, including the Japanese exclusion case, Korematsu v. United States, and the Nazi saboteur military commission case, Ex parte Quirin. For a fresh take on these and related cases and a broader perspective on the Supreme Court during World War II, Jack Goldsmith sat down with Cliff Sloan, a professor at Georgetown Law Center and a former Special Envoy for Guantanamo Closure, to discuss his new book, which is called “The Court at War: FDR, His Justices, and the World They Made.”  

They discussed how the Court's decisions during World War II were informed by the very close personal bonds of affection that most of the justices had with President Roosevelt and by the justices’ intimate attachment to and involvement with the war effort. They also discussed the fascinating internal deliberations in KorematsuQuirin, and other momentous cases, and the puzzle of why the same court that issued these decisions also, during the same period, issued famous rights-expanding decisions in the areas of reproductive freedom, voting rights, and freedom of speech.

Jack Goldsmith is the Learned Hand Professor at Harvard Law School, co-founder of Lawfare, and a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. 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.
Cliff Sloan teaches Criminal Justice, Constitutional Law, and Death Penalty Litigation at Georgetown Law. His book about the Supreme Court during World War II, The Court at War: FDR, His Justices, and the World They Made, was published in September 2023.
Jen Patja is the editor and producer of the Lawfare Podcast and Rational Security. She currently serves as the Co-Executive Director of Virginia Civics, a nonprofit organization that empowers the next generation of leaders in Virginia by promoting constitutional literacy, critical thinking, and civic engagement. She is the former Deputy Director of the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison's Montpelier and has been a freelance editor for over 20 years.

Subscribe to Lawfare