OLC in the News

Two items of interest today.

First, the Post has an op-ed by Dawn Johnsen, who withdrew as nominee to be head of OLC after her nomination languished in front of the Senate, entitled (in the print edition) “Mending the Office of Legal Counsel.” It addresses a number of subjects, but the central thrust is to argue that it is time to “halt the damage caused by the ‘torture memo’ by settling on a bipartisan understanding of the proper role of this critical office and confirming an assistant attorney general committed to that understanding,” and that OLC does not need to be formally “independent,” it just needs to perform its traditional role of  “provid[ing] an accurate and honest appraisal of applicable law, even if that advice will constrain the administration’s pursuit of desired policies.”  It notes that there has not been a confirmed head of OLC for 6 years, which is remarkable. 

Second, the Times has a piece on OLC’s recent VAWA opinion discussed in my post yesterday. It outlines the reasoning of the opinion and suggests it was likely generated in response to a request by an advocacy group:

Brian Moulton, the chief legislative counsel of the Human Rights Campaign, a gay and lesbian advocacy group, said his group asked the Obama transition team after the 2008 election to have the office “clarify” for prosecutors that the Violence Against Women Act covers violence that might arise in same-sex relationships.

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