The Attorney General’s Authority to Represent the Roosevelt Campobello International Park Commission

Headnotes: 

Under the international agreement creating the Roosevelt Campobello International Park Commission and its implementing legislation, the Attorney General may provide free legal representation to the Commission. However, he is under no obligation to do so, particularly where a conflict of interest would make questionable the appropriateness of such representation.

The Attorney General’s statutory obligation to “supervise and control” litigation of the Commission in courts of the United States does not require him to conduct such litigation, or retain private counsel on behalf of the Commission, any more than it empowers him to control access by this international body to U.S. courts. It only means that when the Attorney General does conduct or finance litigation of the Commission, he must retain supervision and control over it.

In cases where the Commission is suing an agency of the United States, it is appropriate for the Department to refuse the Commission’s request for representation. The Department also may withdraw from representation of the Commission that has already been undertaken, as long as such withdrawal is accomplished in accordance with applicable American Bar Association standards.

Updated July 9, 2014