Meet the New OLC, Same As the Old


The Cato Institute's Gene Healy has some sharp words for the Obama administration's Office of Legal Counsel, which just rubber stamped the president's undeclared war on Libya:

Last week, the Obama Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel released its formal opinion on the President's "Authority to Use Force in Libya." OLC is the professional corps providing advice to the president on the legality of his actions, and it's a much-coveted berth for ambitious lawyers. But, reading the memo over (it's officially dated April Fool's Day—make of that what you will), it occurred to me that, personally, I'd sleep better at night as in-house counsel for Fannie Mae or Archer Daniels Midland.

Though the Office is supposed to help the president "take Care that the laws be faithfully executed," OLC lawyers typically end up telling their immediate employer, "why, yes: the action you've already decided to take turns out to be perfectly constitutional." The Libya memo perfectly illustrates that dynamic.

Read the whole thing here. More on Obama's Libya adventure here. Healy on the cult of the presidency right here.