Friday, July 19, 2019

Casto to Speak on Robert H. Jackson and FDR

William R. Casto, the Paul Whitfield Horn Professor at Texas Tech University, will speak on his book Advising the President: Attorney General Robert H. Jackson and Franklin D. Roosevelt, published last year by the University Press of Kansas, at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library and Museum on Wednesday, July 31, 2019 at 4:00 p.m.  Click here to register. 
It is broadly understood that a president might test the limits of the law in extraordinary circumstances -- and does so with advice from legal counsel. Advising the President is an exploration of this process, viewed through the experience of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Robert H. Jackson on the eve of World War II. The book directly grapples with the ethical problems inherent in advising a president on actions of doubtful legality; eschewing partisan politics, it presents a practical, realistic model for rendering -- and judging the propriety of -- such advice.

Jackson, who would go on to be the chief US prosecutor at the Nuremberg war crimes trials, was the US solicitor general from 1938-1940, US attorney general from 1940-1941, and Supreme Court justice from 1941-1954. William R. Casto examines the legal arguments advanced by Roosevelt for controversial wartime policies such as illegal wiretapping and unlawful assistance to Great Britain, all of which were related to important issues of national security. Putting these episodes in political and legal context, Casto makes clear distinctions between what the adviser tells the president and what he tells others, including the public, and between advising the president and subsequently facilitating the president's decision.

Based upon the real-life experiences of a great attorney general advising a great president, Casto's timely work presents a pragmatic yet ethically powerful approach to giving legal counsel to a president faced with momentous, controversial decisions.
--Dan Ernst