(DOJ Archives Logo from http://www.justice.gov/archives)
A more serious look that our usual technology Thursdays, but an interesting one nonetheless–the U.S. Department of Justice has released a previously unseen series of opinions ranging from the 1930s to the 1970s from the archives of the Office of Legal Counsel. In many cases, the opinions do not reflect the current positions of the office, but illustrate how areas of law developed around previously hot-button issues and thus, may shed light on how similar issues will be dealt with in this day and age, such as domestic surveillance and violations of the Espionage Act of 1917 (For example, in 1941, the OLC weighed in on the Naval Intelligence Service’s desire to listen in on phone calls to use the records “in prosecutions involving espionage, sabotage, and subversive activities,” and in 1942, they opined on the criminal liability for newspaper publication of naval secrets under the Espionage Act).
The opinions also look at historical political issues, such as the legal and practical consequences of a blockade of Cuba, and the removal of Japanese citizens from Hawaii to the United States, as well as recurring constitutional issues, like the President’s power in the field of foreign relations. At 508 pages of historical legal goodness, with contributions from legal heavyweights like Antonin Scalia, William H. Rehnquist, and Robert Bork, they’re perfect for some end-of-summer beach reading. Pick up the PDF from the OLC here or read the highlights from the Wall Street Journal Law Blog.
* hat tip: Above the Law