Fin-uh-lee! An OLC nominee

Yesterday, the White House finally sent to the Senate the long-rumored nomination of Virginia Seitz to be Assistant Attorney General.  I’ve discussed the (then-rumored) nomination here.  

In keeping with tradition, the nomination does not specify that Seitz would be AAG for the Office of Legal Counsel. If I remember correctly, that is because the legislation creating most of the Justice Department’s AAG spots doesn’t specify that they’ll head a particular office. As a technical matter, this might permit the Attorney General to reassign one AAG to head another DOJ component (so long as the legislation creating that AAG spot is similarly general). Thus (for example), the AG could switch the confirmed AAG for the Criminal Division and the confirmed AAG for OLC without renominating either of them. But that strikes me as extraordinarily unlikely to happen nowadays, since it would make the relevant Senate committees so unhappy.

UPDATE:  Thanks to a reader who was ready with the authorities, here is confirmation of my recollection that AAGs can be moved around.  Ted Olson, when he was head of OLC, signed an opinion concluding that “the Attorney General may reassign Assistant Attorneys General . . . from one unit to another without resubmitting their names to Congress.”  Historical Use of Assistant Attorneys General, 7 Op. O.L.C. 165, 165 (Oct. 27, 1983).  The opinion said that the Office had “identified at least ten occasions on which an Attorney General ha[d] made such transfers,” including Robert Jackson (Tax to Antitrust), Tom Clark (Antitrust to Criminal Division), and David Bazelon (Lands, now ENRD, to Office of Alien Property).  Id. at 165-66.  This reading seems to be confirmed by 28  U.S.C. § 507A(a), added, in 2006, which provides that “[o]f the [eleven] Assistant Attorneys General appointed under 28 [ U.S.C. §] 506, one shall serve, upon the designation of the President, as the Assistant Attorney General for National Security.”

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