Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

First Page



How did a Chinese big tech company beat the president of the United States? When then-President Donald Trump sought to ban TikTok, ostensibly because of its Chinese roots, US courts came to TikTok's rescue. Rather than deferring to the president's claims of a national security emergency justifying the ban, courts held that the president lacked statutory authority to ban TikTok. This Article chronicles the Trump administration's attempt to either ban TikTok or to compel its sale to a "very American" company, preferably one led by a political ally. The TikTok affair thus demonstrates what Harold Koh calls the National Security Constitution at work-with courts and Congress checking and balancing the president even with respect to foreign relations and national security.