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Opinions by Date and Title
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1998
1998-May-26

Permissibility Under Posse Comitatus Act of Detail of Defense Department Civilian Employee to the National Infrastructure Protection Center

The proposed detail of a civilian employee of the Department of Defense to the National Infrastructure Protection Center, a component of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, is permissible under the Posse Comitatus Act.

1998-May-20

Whistleblower Protections for Classified Disclosures

A Senate bill addressing the disclosure to Congress of classified “whistleblower” information concerning the intelligence community is unconstitutional because it would deprive the President of the opportunity to determine how, when and under what circumstances certain classified information should be disclosed to Members of Congress.

A House bill addressing the same subject is constitutional because it contains provisions that allow for the exercise of the President’s constitutional authority.

1998-May-13

Constitutionality of Proposed Limitations on Tobacco Industry

Congress has the authority under the Constitution to impose significant new regulations on tobacco companies, including (1) restrictions on advertising and marketing of tobacco products that are tailored to prevent access to advertising by minors; (2) contingent monetary exactions, to be collected from tobacco companies if tobacco use by minors fails to meet prescribed targets; and (3) requirements that companies disclose certain documents to the public and to federal regulators.

Consent by the tobacco companies to increased federal regulation, which those companies might grant in order to qualify for federally prescribed limits on liability, would permit Congress to establish additional restrictions on tobacco advertising that it could not impose directly.restrictions on tobacco advertising that it could not impose directly.

1998-April-30

Authority of Executive Office of the President to Require Independent Agencies to Conduct Background Checks of Noncareer SES Candidates

No office or agency within the Executive Office of the President may require independent agencies to conduct certain background checks of candidates for noncareer Senior Executive Service positions.

1998-April-22

Coverage Issues Under the Indian Self-Determination Act

The 1990 amendment to the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975 covers only those torts for which the Federal Tort Claims Act waives the sovereign immunity of the United States.

The 1990 amendment does not authorize or otherwise address representation of tribes or tribal employees who are sued in their individual capacities for constitutional torts.

1998-April-20

Possible Bases of Jurisdiction for the Department of Justice to Investigate Matters Relating to the Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Department of Justice may conduct an investigation relating to the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., to investigate the commission of federal crimes for which the applicable statute of limitations has run, in order to establish the facts of the crime, independent of whether such facts may lead to a prosecution.

The Department also has authority, under 28 U.S.C. § 533(3), to investigate the role of the Department or the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the original investigation of the King assassination. Such an investigation under § 533(3) could include a re-investigation of the facts surrounding the assassination itself in order to assess the conduct of the Bureau’s original investigation and determine the accuracy and completeness of its findings.

1998-April-09

Application of the Double Jeopardy Clause to Disgorgement Orders Under the Federal Trade Commission Act

In a civil suit brought by the Federal Trade Commission challenging unfair trade practices, the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment is not implicated by a judgment requiring restitution and ordering that, in the event restitution is impracticable, the defendant pay money to the United States Treasury.

1998-March-20

Interpretation of Inspector General Act

Although it is a close question, the better interpretation of the Inspector General Act is that Congress did not intend to limit the phrase “recommendation that funds be put to better use” to only those audit recommendations that achieve identifiable monetary savings.

1998-March-18

The Vacancies Act

The Vacancies Act is not the exclusive authority for temporarily assigning the duties of a Senate-confirmed office. Statutes vesting an agency’s powers in the agency head and allowing delegation to subordinate officials also may be used to assign, on an interim basis, the duties of certain vacant Senate-confirmed offices.

1998-March-13

Applicability of 18 U.S.C. § 431 to Limited Partnership Interests in Government Leases

A modified version of the proposed real estate transaction described in the February 17, 1998 opinion that gives the blind trusts no interest in any government contracts is permissible under 18 U.S.C. § 431.


Updated: April 2014