2 Admin. L. News 1 (1975-1976)

handle is hein.journals/admreln2 and id is 1 raw text is: EVEN HALF-DOZEN
ASSISTANT ATTORNEYS GENERAL,
OFFICE OF LEGAL COUNSEL,
PERFORM FOR SECTION AT
MONTREAL MEETING
Proving among other things that the tenure in
the responsible position of Assistant Attorney
General, Office of Legal Counsel, has been
rather transient in the last few years, the last
six persons to hold that office appeared
together in a panel discussion at the Montreal
meeting under the sponsorship of the Section
of Administrative Law.
The program, one of the most interesting the
Section has ever presented, was conceived and
organized by Chairman Marion Harrison. It was
chaired by Mr. Justice William Rehnquist of the
United States Supreme Court, who was the
second incumbent in the position in the
chronological sequence presented and who
ruled time allocation as if he had no tolerance
for dissent.
The program had a dual theme. While it
involved discussion of the duties of the
Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal
Counsel, it also was broadened to a more
general consideration of the question: The
government lawyer-who is his client?
Professor Robert Dixon led off the panel by
defining the role of the Office of Legal Counsel
as separation of powers within a broader sphere
of separation of powers. He emphasized that
throughout the entire Watergate investigation,
the Attorney General sometimes refused to give
requested information and evidence to White
House counsel. He urged that few realize the
non-spectacular aspects of the working of the
legal system in the Watergate investigation.
Dean Roger Cramton asserted the impor-
tance of independence in OLC and referred to
the opinion rendered while he was Assistant
Attorney General that the President does not
have the unlimited right to impound appro-
priated funds, an opinion clearly contrary to the
strong wishes of the White House. He urged
that the position always be filled from outside
the government hierarchy.

JERRE S. WILLIAMS
Chairman

Finally, he provoked some dissent by saying
that the Office of Legal Counsel should not be a
ministry of justice. Its work is technical and
narrow legal service of the highest quality. By
and large, proposals for legal reform should
come from other sources; the job of OLC is to
insure that the laws which we now have work
properly and effectively.
Ralph Erickson turned his attention to the
broader question of who is the client of the
government lawyer. It was his view that the
client is the whole government, but mainly the
executive branch. He recognized and described
the difficulties, the conflict of interest prob-
lems, in choosing who is to be represented
within the governmental structure. Major stress
was placed upon the need for independence.
The chronologically first and last of the six
Assistant Attorneys General then concluded
the program. Frank Wozencraft, the senior
holder of the office, saw three functions of
OLC. First, counseling the various agencies
and departments on the administration of
their laws and as to the policies established by
their laws. Second, executive lawmaking, con-
sisting of the drafting and review for legality of
executive orders and regulations. Third, review-
ing proposed legislation for form and legality.
Finally, the OLC is not house counsel to the
agencies or to the White House. They have their
own counsel. He saw the Office of Legal
Counsel as the government lawyer to the
people.

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