Opinions

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Disposition of Proceeds From the Sale of Real Property Acquired With Money From the Social Security Trust Funds The General Services Administration is authorized, under section 412 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2005, to convey Social Security Administration buildings that were acquired with money derived from the Social Security Trust Funds and to retain the net proceeds in the Federal Buildings Fund.
The Availability of Crime Victims’ Rights Under the Crime Victims’ Rights Act of 2004

The rights provided by the Crime Victims Rights Act are guaranteed from the time that criminal proceedings are initiated (by complaint, information, or indictment) and cease to be available if all charges are dismissed either voluntarily or on the merits (or if the Government declines to bring formal charges after the filing of a complaint).

Whether the Special Master for Troubled Asset Relief Program Executive Compensation Is a Principal Officer Under the Appointments Clause The Special Master for Troubled Asset Relief Program Executive Compensation is not a principal officer for purposes of the Appointments Clause and thus need not be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.
Applicability of the Emoluments Clause and the Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act to the Göteborg Award for Sustainable Development

Neither the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution nor the Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act would bar an employee of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration from accepting the 2010 Göteborg Award for Sustainable Development.

Entitlement to Reservist Differential Pay Under the Preamendment Version of 5 U.S.C. § 5538

Under the pre-amendment version of 5 U.S.C. § 5538, covered employees may receive reservist differential pay not only for pay periods that occur when they are serving on active duty, but also for those pay periods that fall within the additional period in which they have re-employment rights following the completion of that duty.

Applicability of the Emoluments Clause to Nongovernmental Members of ACUS A nongovernmental member of the Administrative Conference of the United States does not occupy an office of profit or trust within the meaning of the Emoluments Clause.
Applicability of Tax Levies Under 26 U.S.C. § 6334 to Thrift Savings Plan Accounts

Thrift Savings Plan accounts are subject to federal tax levies under sections 6331 and 6334 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Whether the Criminal Provisions of the Violence Against Women Act Apply to Otherwise Covered Conduct When the Offender and Victim Are the Same Sex The criminal provisions of the Violence Against Women Act apply to otherwise covered conduct when the offender and victim are the same sex.
Constitutional Concerns Presented by Proposed Orderly Liquidation Authority Panel

The Orderly Liquidation Authority Panel that would be authorized by section 202 of the Committee Print of the Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010 would have independent jurisdiction to determine the statutory permissibility of petitions issued by the Secretary of the Treasury to appoint the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation as receiver for certain systemically important financial companies that are in default or in danger of default. If this Panel—a bankruptcy court tribunal composed of three judges from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware who are appointed by the Chief Judge of that court—were deemed to be a part of the Executive Branch, its exercise of this jurisdiction would raise both Appointments Clause and separation of powers concerns.

If the Panel instead were deemed to be a part of the Judicial Branch, the Appointments Clause concerns would be mitigated, if not resolved, but the separation of powers concerns would be heightened.

The Panel could be located within the Judicial Branch while addressing both the Appointments Clause and separation of powers concerns if Congress were to vest jurisdiction to review receivership petitions in an Article III court, with that court authorized to refer such petitions to the Panel and to withdraw referrals under appropriate circumstances, or if the Panel were to consist of Article III judges rather than bankruptcy judges. This structure, however, would likely prevent the Panel from adjudicating petitions where the financial company consents to the appointment of the FDIC as receiver and thus does not present a justiciable case or controversy.

Department of Justice Views on the Proposed Constitution Drafted by the Fifth Constitutional Convention of the United States Virgin Islands

The following memorandum was initially drafted in the Office of Legal Counsel at the request of the Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs.  It analyzes several features of the proposed constitution of the U.S. Virgin Islands (“USVI”), including:  (1) the absence of an express recognition of United States sovereignty and the supremacy of federal law; (2) provisions for a special election on the USVI’s territorial status; (3) provisions conferring legal advantages on certain groups defined by place and timing of birth, timing of residency, or ancestry; (4) residence requirements for certain offices; (5) provisions guaranteeing legislative representation of certain geographic areas; (6) provisions addressing territorial waters and marine resources; (7) imprecise language in certain provisions of the proposed constitution's bill of rights; (8) the possible need to repeal certain federal laws if the proposed USVI constitution is adopted; and (9) the effect of congressional action or inaction on the proposed constitution.

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