Lawyering the Presidency: Legal Counsel and Constraints on the Use of Force

Thu December 9th 2021, 3:30 - 5:00pm
Event Sponsor
Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC)
Virtual Only. This event will not be held in person.
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Lawyering the Presidency: Legal Counsel and Constraints on the Use of Force


Deborah Pearlstein, Professor of Law and Co-Director of the Floersheimer Center for Constitutional Democracy, will examine when and why policy-making clients engage counsel’s advice when thinking about the use of force, and how that advice may shape or reshape policymakers’ existing normative preferences. Pearlstein's research draws on an original survey of more than three dozen former senior U.S. national security policy officials. Her findings, suggest that the existing literature may be underestimating counsel’s capacity to influence.

Pearlstein's work on the U.S. Constitution, international law, and national security has appeared widely in law journals and the popular press, including the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, the University of Michigan Law Review, the University of Texas Law Review, and the Georgetown Law Journal, as well as in The Atlantic, Foreign Policy, the Washington Post, and the New York Times. Professor Pearlstein has repeatedly testified before Congress on topics from war powers to executive branch oversight. In 2021, she was appointed to the U.S. State Department Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation, a 9-member board of historians, political scientists, and U.S. foreign relations law experts who help ensure the timely declassification and publication of government records surrounding major events in U.S. foreign policy.

This event is part of a new, year-long Ethics & Political Violence series jointly sponsored by the McCoy Family Center for Ethics in Society and the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC). The series of seminars and public lectures features philosophers, lawyers, historians, social scientists, human rights activists, soldiers and political leaders grappling with vexing moral questions raised by uses of violence in international relations and domestic politics.


Public virtual event. RSVP.