Last night, I gave the Sixth Annual Lloyd Cutler Lecture on Rule of Law at the Supreme Court, in which I spoke about the domestic and international law applicable to the use of military force by the next President. The text is here and excerpts are below:
It will be critical for President Trump, Vice President Pence, and their senior advisers to learn and follow domestic and international law governing the use of force.
Many previous Presidents, even those with government experience as state governors such as Presidents Reagan, Clinton, and George W Bush, were initially unfamiliar with these rules that limit their actions as Commander-in-Chief and head of state. They had to be schooled by their advisers and to learn the applicable law.
During Mr. Trump’s Presidential campaign, I and many others were extremely troubled by his statements advocating counterterrorism policies that would violate domestic and international law. Such statements may have appealed to some voters during a campaign, but they must be strongly repudiated by a President of the United States.