Citizens for Responsibility & Ethics in Washington v. U.S. Department of Justice

D.C. Circuit Holds That OLC Is Not Required to Publish its Formal Opinions.

I found this article in the Harvard Law Review regarding the role of the Office of Legal Counsel. Specifically, how we can preserve the separation of powers and promote transparency and accountability in executive decision making.

The Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) in the Department of Justice is the authoritative legal counsel for the executive branch, and its binding, formal opinions form a precedential body of law guiding executive actions in parallel to judicial doctrine.1×1. See Daphna Renan, The Law Presidents Make, 103 VA. L. REV. 805, 815 (2017). OLC may, when requested, also dispense advice informally in a method akin to “talking shop,” id. at 835, that is nonetheless still binding by custom, id. at 847 n.177. OLC serves a critical role by providing carefully reasoned legal guidance to executive actors while insulating debate over some of the President’s most important decisions from Congress, the judiciary, and the public.

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