Opinions

Opinions

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Title Headnotes
Application of 18 U.S.C. § 1913 to “Grass Roots” Lobbying by Union Representatives

Under 18 U.S.C. § 1913, federal employees who are union representatives may not use official time to engage in “grass roots” lobbying in which, on behalf of their unions, they ask members of the public to communicate with government officials in support of, or opposition to, legislation or other measures.

Waiver of Sovereign Immunity With Respect to Whistleblower Provisions of Environmental Statutes

The federal government’s sovereign immunity has been waived with respect to the whistleblower provisions of the Solid Waste Disposal Act and the Clean Air Act, but not with respect to the whistleblower provision of the Clean Water Act.

Appointments to the Board of the Legal Services Corporation

The President has authority to appoint a member of the Board of the Legal Services Corporation who has been confirmed after his or her statutory term of office has expired, where the holdover provi-sion of the statute allows a member to serve until a successor is appointed.

Application of 18 U.S.C. § 207(c) to Proposed Communications Between Retired Navy Flag Officer and Marine Corps Commanders in Iraq Regarding Security Issues

Although more detailed information is needed to make a complete determination in this fact-sensitive area, it appears that 18 U.S.C. § 207(c) would forbid at least some of the proposed communications between a retired Navy flag officer and Marine Corps commanders regarding the security situation in Iraq.

Proposed Amendments to Military Commission Order No. 1

The Secretary of Defense could, consistent with the President’s Military Order of November 13, 2001, revise Military Commission Order No. 1 so that the presiding officer would rule upon all questions of law (subject to the requirements of section 4(c)(3) of the Military Order regarding questions of admissibility), and the other members of the commission would make findings and pronounce sentence.

Authority Under the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Act to Close or Realign National Guard Installations Without the Consent of State Governors

The federal government has authority under the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Act of 1990, as amended, to close or realign a National Guard installation without the consent of the governor of the state in which the installation is located.

Assignment of Certain Functions Related to Military Appointments

Section 531(a)(1) of title 10 does not affirmatively prohibit delegation to the Secretary of Defense of the President’s appointment authority.

The Appointments Clause of the Constitution does not prohibit Congress from allowing the President to choose between making such an appointment himself and delegating it to the Secretary of Defense.

So long as each nomination is submitted to the Secretary of Defense for approval (whether individually or in groups) and each appointment is made in the name of the Secretary of Defense (whether the document evidencing the appointment be signed by the Secretary or an authorized subordinate officer), the Constitution would permit much of the legwork of the appointment process to be delegated to a subordinate officer below the Secretary of Defense.

Whether Conflict of Interest Laws Apply to a Person Assisting a Supreme Court Nominee

On the facts described, former Senator Fred Thompson would not be an “officer” or “employee” of the federal government if he assisted a Supreme Court nominee during the process of confirmation by the Senate, and as a consequence the federal conflict of interest laws would not apply to him.

Whether the President May Sign a Bill by Directing That His Signature Be Affixed to It

The President need not personally perform the physical act of affixing his signature to a bill he approves and decides to sign in order for the bill to become law. Rather, the President may sign a bill within the meaning of Article I, Section 7 by directing a subordinate to affix the President’s signature to such a bill, for example by autopen.

Authority of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives to Permit Importation of Frames, Receivers, and Barrels of Non-Importable Firearms

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives does not have authority under the Gun Control Act of 1968 to permit the importation of the frames, receivers, and barrels of non-importable firearms, where the importation of those parts is solely for purposes of repair or replacement rather than for the assembly of a new firearm.

The Bureau may, however, announce that, for a limited time (60 days), it will not take enforcement action against persons importing frames, receivers, or barrels pursuant to a previously issued permit.

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