Author and Lawyer William Casto to Deliver Heritage Lecture on Jackson’s Time as Roosevelt’s Attorney General

William Casto

“Controversial presidential actions frequently involve controversial legal advice,” William Casto writes in the introduction of his most recent book, Advising the President. “The two go hand in glove.”

Before he served as the U.S. Chief Prosecutor at the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg, Germany, and before he was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court, Robert H. Jackson was the 57th Attorney General of the United States under President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Casto, an author and legal expert, will discuss “Attorney General Robert H. Jackson and Franklin D. Roosevelt” as part of the Oliver Archives Heritage Lecture Series at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 23 in the Hall of Philosophy.

Casto is the Paul Whitfield Horn Professor of Law at Texas Tech University School of Law, and the author of Advising the President: Attorney General Robert H. Jackson & Franklin D. Roosevelt.

In addition to Advising the President, Casto has authored The Supreme Court in the Early Republic: the Chief Justiceships of John Jay and Oliver Ellsworth; Oliver Ellsworth and the Creation of the Federal Republic; and Foreign Affairs and the Constitution in the Age of Fighting Sail.

Casto has written extensively on judicial review, foreign policy, and the relationship between religion and public life in the Founding Era.

A member of the American Law Institute, Casto received his law degree from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and a Doctor of the Science of Law degree from Columbia University. He joined the Texas Tech faculty in 1983 after practicing law for a number of years in Tennessee.

As a scholar, Casto has been frequently cited or relied upon by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Casto opens Advising the President with a quote from Jackson: “The Attorney General has a dual position.”

The book, Casto writes in the introduction, uses the story of Jackson and Roosevelt to “explore the problem of providing legal advice to the president.”

The book covers national security events on the eve of World War II — seemingly unrelated, Casto wrote, but “like pieces of a complex puzzle.”

“The puzzle is essentially historical, but Jackson’s travails also provide valuable insights into the advisory process some seventy years later in the twenty-first century,” he wrote. “The general ethics principles regarding a legal adviser’s obligations are essentially the same today as they were when Jackson advised his president.”

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