A New Supplemental Series of Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) Opinions Now Online at the DOJ

From the Department of Justice website:

“The first volume of a new supplemental series of OLC opinions (Op. O.L.C. Supp.) is available in its entirety as a PDF in the electronic reading room. As explained there and in the body of the publication itself, volume 1 of this series contains a number of important opinions written by OLC (or its predecessor entities in the Department of Justice) from 1933 to 1977, when OLC first began publishing its primary series (Op. O.L.C.). The purpose of the supplemental series is to fill in certain gaps in the historical record and to make available to the public additional OLC materials that may not have been appropriate to release publicly when issued to the client but with the passage of time have become publishable.”


Volume 1 of the new supplemental series of Office of Legal Counsel Opinions is online at: http://www.justice.gov/olc/docs/op-olc-supp.pdf

The volume includes a very useful and brief history of the OLC and an important note about the contents of this volume:

This volume is subdivided into three sections: one for opinions by Attorneys General; one for opinions by Assistant Solicitors General and OLC (and EAD); and one for other memoranda and correspondence of a less formal nature.  The volume includes at least one opinion by each Senate-confirmed Assistant Solicitor General or Assistant Attorney General of OLC (or EAD) from 1933 to 1977.  Included in the last section
of the volume are materials that would not typically be published in our primary series: for example, an early practices and procedures manual for the Office of the Assistant Solicitor General (remarkable in its detail
and in its areas of commonality with the modern practices and procedures of OLC); a 1962 memorandum of uncertain provenance
in the OLC files, perhaps drafted by the Deputy Legal Adviser for the Department of State, regarding possible responses to the Cuban missile crisis; and some action and file memos that may not qualify as formal opinions of the Office but nevertheless elucidate important legal issues.”


Index of OLC Memoranda

Index of Bush-Era OLC Memoranda Relating to Interrogation, Detention, Rendition and/or Surveillance” is a newly updated chart available at the ACLU website.   The “Status” column in the chart details if the memoranda are still secret or public.  And, if a memo has been repudiated, there are details in the “Notes” column.

We love a good index.

Hat tip to TalkLeft.

Missing Memos

ProPublica has the first ever comprehensive list of the missing Bush era legal memorandum on counter-terrorism policies including detention, wiretapping and interrogation. 

The compilers of this list, Dan Nguyen and Christopher Weaver, provide details on nearly 40 such memos, including information on the memos’ authors as well as a time-line.   A few of the memos are already public due to litigation, but most aren’t available.

Nguyen and Weaver also explain that it falls on President Obama to solve this problem.

I ran across this resource while reading the Sunlight Foundation’s post on Eric Holder’s preference for disclosure “to the maximum extent consistent with sound practice and competing concerns” of OLC memos.