January 24, 2022

New Research Tools: Knight Institute Publishes 14 Indexes of More Than 1000 Unclassified Opinions Authored by the Office of Legal Council (U.S. Dept. of Justice) Between 1945 and 1958

From a Just Security Article:

Shortly after the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education, the attorney general tasked the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), a small but powerful component of the Department of Justice, with assessing racial segregation in interstate transport and at land-grant colleges. In 1958, the OLC opined on the president’s authority to deploy and keep federal troops in Little Rock, Arkansas, an action to suppress resistance to the court-ordered desegregation of public schools. In hundreds of opinions issued in the years directly after World War II, the OLC was the executive branch’s authoritative voice on difficult and urgent questions relating to civil rights, labor unrest, and nuclear technology, quietly shaping the policies and practices of the federal government during a charged period in American history.

Details about the OLC’s part in these and other historical events have been locked away in the department’s archives for decades. Today, the Knight Institute is publishing fourteen indexes cataloging the titles of more than a thousand unclassified opinions authored by the OLC between 1945 and 1958. These indexes, which were created by the OLC in response to our ongoing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit, outline the OLC’s unique role in shaping executive branch policy during the postwar period. Their release provides the most comprehensive view to date of the workings of an office that has largely operated in the dark.

Read the Complete Article (about 1000 words)

Direct to OLC Indexes (via Knight Institute)

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.