The OLC
Astrid Da Silva

The OLC's Opinions

Opinions published by the OLC, including those released in response to our FOIA lawsuit

This Reading Room is the most comprehensive public database of opinions written by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC). It contains the approximately 1,400 opinions published by the OLC in its online database and the opinions produced in Freedom of Information Act litigation brought by the Knight Institute, including opinions about the Pentagon Papers, the Civil Rights Era, and the War Powers Act. It also contains indexes of all unclassified OLC opinions written between 1945 and February 15, 1994. Those indexes are also available as a comprehensive list here and in .csv format here.

The Knight Institute will continue updating the reading room with new records. To get alerts when the OLC publishes a new opinion in its database, follow @OLCforthepeople on Twitter.

Showing 8190 of 2188

  • Annotated index of 1981 unclassified OLC legal opinions

    The OLC disclosed a preliminary index of all unclassified OLC legal opinions issued in 1981 to the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University. This version of the index (annotated by Institute staff) shows which opinions were released in response to the Knight Institute's FOIA request (green), which opinions are currently being processed (yellow), which opinions were already publicly available (blue), and which opinions were not selected by the Knight Institute for processing (white).

    4/12/2021

  • Annotated index of 1969 unclassified OLC legal opinions

    The OLC disclosed a preliminary index of all unclassified OLC legal opinions issued in 1969 to the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University. This version of the index (annotated by Institute staff) shows which opinions were released in response to the Knight Institute's FOIA request (green), which opinions are currently being processed (yellow), which opinions were already publicly available (blue), and which opinions were not selected by the Knight Institute for processing (white).

    4/12/2021

  • Annotated index of 1965 unclassified OLC legal opinions

    The OLC disclosed a preliminary index of all unclassified OLC legal opinions issued in 1965 to the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University. This version of the index (annotated by Institute staff) shows which opinions were released in response to the Knight Institute's FOIA request (green), which opinions are currently being processed (yellow), which opinions were already publicly available (blue), and which opinions were not selected by the Knight Institute for processing (white).

    4/12/2021

  • Military Support for Customs and Border Protection Along the Southern Border Under the Posse Comitatus Act

    The Department of Defense's proposed use of military personnel to provide limited assistance with respect to certain Customs and Border Protection inspection and observation functions along the southern border of the United States is permissible under the Posse Comitatus Act and applicable regulations. The OLC does not provide release dates for its opinions, so the release date listed is the date on which the opinion was authored. The original opinion is available at www.justice.gov/olc/file/1357086/download.

    1/19/2021

  • Preemption of State and Local Requirements Under a PREP Act Declaration

    The Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act and the COVID-19 declaration issued by the Secretary of Health and Human Services under that Act preempt state or local requirements, such as state licensing laws, that would prohibit or effectively prohibit qualifying state-licensed pharmacists from ordering and administering FDA-approved COVID-19 tests and FDA-authorized or FDA-licensed COVID-19 vaccines. The OLC does not provide release dates for its opinions, so the release date listed is the date on which the opinion was authored. The original opinion is available at www.justice.gov/olc/file/1356956/download.

    1/19/2021

  • Application of the Hyde Amendment to Federal Student-Aid Programs

    The Hyde Amendment in the Department of Education's annual appropriations legislation for fiscal years 2020 and 2021 applies to the funding in that legislation for Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Opportunity Grants, Scholarships for Veteran's Dependents, and Federal Work-Study Programs. But additional sources of federal funding for these programs provided in other statutes are not subject to the Hyde Amendment. Federal student-aid funding subject to the Hyde Amendment remains so after it is paid to higher-education institutions for disbursement. These institutions must therefore comply with the Hyde Amendment in expending such funds. The OLC does not provide release dates for its opinions, so the release date listed is the date on which the opinion was authored. The original opinion is available at www.justice.gov/olc/file/1355946/download.

    1/16/2021

  • Home Confinement of Federal Prisoners After the COVID-19 Emergency

    The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act authorizes the Director of the Bureau of Prisons to place prisoners in home confinement only during the Act's covered emergency period and when the Attorney General finds that the emergency conditions are materially affecting BOP's functioning. Should that period end, or should the Attorney General revoke the finding, the Bureau would be required to recall the prisoners to correctional facilities unless they are otherwise eligible for home confinement under 18 U.S.C. § 3624(c)(2). BOP's authority under 18 U.S.C. § 3621(a) and (b) does not provide an alternative basis for authorizing continued home confinement for prisoners ineligible for continuing home confinement under section 3624(c)(2). The OLC does not provide release dates for its opinions, so the release date listed is the date on which the opinion was authored. The original opinion is available at www.justice.gov/olc/file/1355886/download.

    1/15/2021

  • Religious Seasonal Decorations in Federal Government Buildings

    The Public Buildings Service of the General Services Administration may, consistent with fiscal law and the First Amendment's Establishment Clause, broaden its policy governing the purchase and display of seasonal decorations in the public spaces of federal properties to allow for the display of religiously significant seasonal decorations that are reasonably calculated to improve employee morale. The OLC does not provide release dates for its opinions, so the release date listed is the date on which the opinion was authored. The original opinion is available at www.justice.gov/olc/file/1355846/download.

    1/15/2021

  • Responsibility for Electronic Presidential Records on Hardware of the Executive Office of the President After a Presidential Transition

    Under the Presidential Records Act, the Archivist of the United States assumes responsibility for the custody and control of, and access to, an outgoing President's electronic presidential records that temporarily remain on Executive Office of the President hardware after the end of the outgoing President's term. The OLC does not provide release dates for its opinions, so the release date listed is the date on which the opinion was authored. The original opinion is available at www.justice.gov/olc/file/1355841/download.

    1/15/2021

  • Sex Segregation in Youth Rodeo Events Under Title IX Regulations

    The maintenance of separate boys and girls divisions in rodeo competitions offered by the South Dakota 4-H Youth Development Program is authorized by the competitive-skill exception contained in the Title IX implementing regulation at 7 C.F.R. § 15a.450(b), but not by the contact-sport exception contained in that regulation. The OLC does not provide release dates for its opinions, so the release date listed is the date on which the opinion was authored. The original opinion is available at www.justice.gov/olc/file/1355836/download.

    1/13/2021

Related Content