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Opinions of the Office of Legal Counsent - DOJ

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Last Updated 12/16/03

Office of Legal Counsel ABOUT OLC

The Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Office of Legal Counsel assists the Attorney General in his function as legal advisor to the President and all the executive branch agencies. The Office drafts legal opinions of the Attorney General and also provides its own written opinions and oral advice in response to requests from the Counsel to the President, the various agencies of the executive branch, and offices within the Department. Such requests typically deal with legal issues of particular complexity and importance or about which two or more agencies are in disagreement. The Office also is responsible for providing legal advice to the executive branch on all constitutional questions and reviewing pending legislation for constitutionality.

All Executive orders and proclamations proposed to be issued by the President are reviewed by the Office of Legal Counsel for form and legality, as are various other matters that require the President's formal approval.

In addition to serving as, in effect, outside counsel for the other agencies of the executive branch, the Office of Legal Counsel also functions as general counsel for the Department itself. It reviews all proposed orders of the Attorney General and all regulations requiring the Attorney General's approval. It also performs a variety of special assignments referred by the Attorney General or the Deputy Attorney General.

The Office of Legal Counsel is not authorized to give legal advice to private persons.