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Relationship Between Department of Justice Attorneys and Persons on Whose Behalf the United States Brings Suits Under the Fair Housing Act

When the Department of Justice undertakes a civil action on behalf of a complainant alleging a discriminatory housing practice under the Fair Housing Act, Department attorneys handling the action do not enter into an attomey-client relationship with the complainant, nor do they undertake a fiduciary obligation to the complainant.

Because no attomey-client relationship is established in such undertakings, no retainer agreement between the complainant and the Department attorneys should be entered into.


Authority of the Federal Financial Supervisory Agencies Under the Community Reinvestment Act

The federal financial supervisory agencies lack authority under the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 to provide by regulation that financial institutions that do not meet the credit needs of their communities may be subject to administrative enforcement actions under 12 U S.C. § 1818.


Whether Uruguay Round Agreements Required Ratification as a Treaty

The Uruguay Round Agreements concluded under the auspices of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade did not require ratification by the Senate as a treaty, but could constitutionally be executed by the President and approved and implemented by Act of Congress.


Application of 18 U.S.C. § 205 to Communications Between the National Association of Assistant United States Attorneys and the Department of Justice

The restrictions of 18 U.S.C. § 205 preclude current federal employees from representing the National Association of Assistant United States Attorneys before the Department of Justice regarding compensation, workplace issues, and other issues that focus on the interests of Assistant United States Attorneys or another discrete and identifiable class of persons or entities.

Section 205 does not preclude several other kinds of communications between the Department and NAAUSA or similar associations. The Department is not precluded from dealing with individual AUSAs or groups of AUSAs in their official capacities on matters affecting AUSAs, even if those AUSAs are coincidentally members of NAAUSA. Nor does section 205 place any restrictions on representatives who are not current federal employees, such as NAAUSA’s executive director or former AUSAs no longer employed by the government. Finally, discussions of broad policy directed towards a large and diverse group of persons would be permissible under the statute.


Congressional Testimony of an Assistant United States Attorney on Behalf of the National Association of Assistant United States Attorneys

The Department of Justice correctly takes the position that it may not prohibit an Assistant United States Attorney from testifying before Congress in his or her personal capacity on behalf of the National Association of Assistant United States Attorneys.

The Department’s rules regulating such testimony are consistent with the First Amendment. Those rules require that the AUSA make it clear that he or she is not speaking for the Department, avoid using or permitting the use of his or her official title or position in connection with the testimony (except as one of several biographical details), and comply with rules on the protection of confidential information


Presidential Authority to Decline to Execute Unconstitutional Statutes

This memorandum discusses the President’s constitutional authority to decline to execute unconstitutional statutes.


Availability of Money Damages Under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act

Section 3(c) of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which makes available “appropriate relief” in judicial proceedings against federal and state government entities, does not waive or abrogate the sovereign immunity of federal and state governments against the award of money damages.


The Twenty-Second Decennial Census

Neither the Enumeration Clause of the Constitution nor the Census Act precludes the Bureau of the Census from statistically adjusting “headcounts” in the decennial census for the year 2000 or conducting the non-response follow-up on a sample basis.

The provision in the Census Act prohibiting sampling for purposes of apportionment of the House of Representatives does not preclude reliance upon statistical adjustments that would improve the accuracy of “headcount” data.


Deployment of United States Armed Forces Into Haiti

The President possessed the legal authority to deploy United States Armed Forces into Haiti.

The planned deployment accorded with the sense of Congress, satisfied the requirements of the War Powers Resolution, and was not a “war” within the meaning of the Constitution.


Mutual Consent Provisions in the Guam Commonwealth Legislation

Sections of the Guam Commonwealth Bill requiring the mutual consent of the Government of the United States and the Government of Guam raise serious constitutional questions and are legally unenforceable.

Updated: April 2014