John Dean
John Dean

John Dean served as Counsel to the President of the United States from July 1970 to April 1973. Before becoming White House counsel at age thirty-one, he was the chief minority counsel to the Judiciary Committee of the US House of Representatives, and an associate deputy attorney general at the US Department of Justice. His undergraduate studies were at Colgate University and the College of Wooster, with majors in English Literature and Political Science; then a graduate fellowship at American University to study government and the presidency before entering Georgetown University Law Center, where he received his JD with honors in 1965.

John recounted his days at the Nixon White House and Watergate in two books: Blind Ambition (Open Road 2016) and Lost Honor (1982). After retiring from a business career as a private investment banker doing middle-market mergers and acquisitions, he returned to full-time writing and lecturing, including as a columnist for FindLaw's Writ (from 2000 to 2010) and Justia’s Verdict (since 2010). Donald Trump’s election and presidency have created renewed interest in (and sales of) John’s earlier New York Times best-sellers: Conservatives Without Conscience (2006), which explains the authoritarian direction of the conservative movement that resulted in Trump’s election a decade before it happened, and Broken Government: How Republican Rule Destroyed the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Branches (2008), which addresses the consequences of GOP control of government. His most recent bestseller, The Nixon Defense: What He Knew and When He Knew It (2014), is currently being developed by Entertainment One and ABC Television into an eight or ten-hour miniseries entitled “Watergate.”

John held the Barry M. Goldwater Chair of American Institutions at Arizona State University (academic years 2015-16), and for the past decade and a half he has been a visiting scholar and lecturer at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School of Communications. Currently, Dean is working on his twelfth book about Donald Trump’s presidency, while providing commentary and analysis on the Trump presidency as a CNN News contributor and analyst, and teaching continuing legal education (CLE) programs that examine the impact of the American Bar Association's Model Rules of Professional Conduct on select historic events from Watergate (and the Trump presidency) with surprising results – see

Columns by John Dean
R.I.P. Stanley I. Kutler

Former counsel to the president John W. Dean reflects on the life and achievements of American historian Stanley Kutler. Dean describes Stanley’s role in setting the public record straight with respect to Watergate and laments that the New York Times never seemed to quite understand Watergate, as evidenced by its gratuitously repeating a false charge about Stanley’s book in its obituary on him.

The New Torture Report: Expect Little Other Than Talk

Former counsel to the president John W. Dean discusses the recent report by the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence describing the CIA’s use of torture to interrogate suspected terrorists. Dean predicts that the report will not likely lead to any prosecutions or policy changes, but instead might only result in the more frequent torture of Americans captured around the world.

Travel Bans and Mandatory Quarantines: Ebola Panic Calls for Clarifying the Law

Justia columnist and former counsel to the president John W. Dean comments on the present Ebola panic and politicians’ reactions to it. Dean critiques these reactions as not based on medical knowledge and instead serving only to deter people from assisting to contain the international epidemic.

Resurrecting the Dubious State Secrets Privilege

John Dean, former counsel to the president, comments on a recent case between two private parties in which the U.S. Attorney General intervened and sought dismissal, citing the “state-secrets privilege.” Dean explains the questionable history of this privilege and explains why blind adherence to it can be dangerous.

Who Is Abusing Power: Rick Perry or Michael McCrum, His Special Prosecutor?

John Dean, former counsel to the president, comments on the recent indictment of Texas Governor Rick Perry. Dean cautions against falling for Perry’s and even some Democrats’ quick dismissal of the indictment as politically motivated and lacking sufficient basis. Dean argues that only Perry, not his special prosecutor, may have abused his power.

Thoughts On Nixon’s Resignation

For the fortieth anniversary of former President Richard Nixon’s resignation, John Dean, a Justia columnist and former counsel to the president, offers some thoughts and a preview of his newly released book, The Nixon Defense: What He Knew and When He Knew It. As Dean explains in this adapted preface to the book, the narrative is based on actual White House recordings of Watergate-related activities, which Dean himself listened to and transcribed.

Nixon’s Uses, Abuses and Muses on the Supreme Court

John Dean, former counsel to the president, describes former President Richard Nixon’s views of, and influence on, the U.S. Supreme Court. In the process, Dean reveals some tidbits of information about Nixon that he discusses in greater depth in his upcoming book, The Nixon Defense: What He Knew and When He Knew It.

Grounding the No-Fly List: Part Two of a Three-Part Series of Columns

John W. Dean, former counsel to the president, continues his discussion of the U.S. government’s No-Fly List. In this second of a three-part series of columns, Dean focuses on the constitutional implications of the No-Fly List: deprivation, without due process, of one’s right to travel internationally and one’s reputation interest.