The Attorney General has directed the Office of Legal Counsel to publish selected opinions for the convenience of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the Government, and of the professional bar and the general public. The authority of the Office of Legal Counsel to render legal opinions derives from the authority of the Attorney General. Under the Judiciary Act of 1789, the Attorney General was authorized to render opinions on questions of law when requested by the President and the heads of Executive Branch departments. This authority is now codified at 28 U.S.C. §§ 511-513. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 510, the Attorney General has delegated to the Office of Legal Counsel responsibility for preparing the formal opinions of the Attorney General, rendering opinions and legal advice to the various Executive Branch agencies, assisting the Attorney General in the performance of his function as legal adviser to the President, and rendering opinions to the Attorney General and the heads of the various organizational units of the Department of Justice. 28 C.F.R. § 0.25.
This web site includes Office of Legal Counsel opinions that the Office has determined are appropriate for publication. Volumes 1-26 of the published Opinions of the Office of Legal Counsel contain the official versions of opinions for the years 1977-2002. Those opinions are also available on Westlaw and LEXIS. Additional volumes containing opinions for subsequent years will continue to be published on a regular basis.
The opinions on this web site are arranged — but not necessarily added to the site — in the order that they were signed.
The Office’s Electronic Reading Room, at http://www.justice.gov/olc/olc-foia1.htm, includes certain materials, including legal opinions, that have not been selected for official publication but have nonetheless been released as a matter of discretion and posted publicly because they are the subject of repeated requests or may be of significant public or historical interest.
Full Text of Opinions
Updated: February 2013