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Office of Legal Counsel
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About the Office

By delegation from the Attorney General, the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Office of Legal Counsel provides authoritative legal advice to the President and all the Executive Branch agencies.  The Office drafts legal opinions of the Attorney General and also provides its own written opinions and oral advice in response to requests from the Counsel to the President, the various agencies of the Executive Branch, and offices within the Department.  Such requests typically deal with legal issues of particular complexity and importance or about which two or more agencies are in disagreement.  The Office also is responsible for providing legal advice to the Executive Branch on all constitutional questions and reviewing pending legislation for constitutionality.

All executive orders and proclamations proposed to be issued by the President are reviewed by the Office of Legal Counsel for form and legality, as are various other matters that require the President's formal approval.

In addition to serving as, in effect, outside counsel for the other agencies of the Executive Branch, the Office of Legal Counsel also plays a special role within the Department itself.  It reviews all proposed orders of the Attorney General and all regulations requiring the Attorney General's approval.  It also performs a variety of special assignments referred by the Attorney General or the Deputy Attorney General.

The Office of Legal Counsel is not authorized to give legal advice to private persons.

August 23, 2013
July 2013
The first volume of a new supplemental series of OLC opinions (Op. O.L.C. Supp.) is available in its entirety as a PDF in the electronic reading room. As explained there and in the body of the publication itself, volume 1 of this series contains a number of important opinions written by OLC (or its predecessor entities in the Department of Justice) from 1933 to 1977, when OLC first began publishing its primary series (Op. O.L.C.). The purpose of the supplemental series is to fill in certain gaps in the historical record and to make available to the public additional OLC materials that may not have been appropriate to release publicly when issued to the client but with the passage of time have become publishable.
November 16, 2012
April 03, 2012
March 27, 2012
May 29, 2012
March 2, 2012
June 19, 2012
March 5, 2012
April 8, 2011
November 1, 2011
January 30, 2012
January 6, 2012
September 20, 2011
October 28, 2011
September 19, 2011

Updated: March 2014

General Information Office of Legal Counsel
Karl Remón Thompson
Acting Assistant Attorney General
Office of Legal Counsel
(202) 514-2051
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