Reforming the Office of Legal Counsel: Living Up to Its Best Practices

Annie L. Owens Senior Counsel at the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection at Georgetown University Law School

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For decades, the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) toiled in relative obscurity as the Justice Department component charged with providing authoritative legal advice to the White House and executive branch agencies. Recently, however, it has been criticized for “rendering opinions that are politically desirable but legally faulty,” including those involving President Trump’s Travel Ban, the Ukraine whistleblower complaint which led to President Trump’s impeachment, and its opinion justifying withholding President Trump’s tax returns from Congress. Although reforming OLC might be difficult, Annie Owens explains in a new ACS Issue Brief what a path forward might look like and why previous efforts to reform the Office have failed to produce lasting change.


Read the Issue Brief.