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Constitutional Law Keyed to Shanor
Morrison v. Olson
Citation:487 U.S. 654 (1988)
Title VI of the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 (“Act”) allowed for the appointment of an independent counsel to investigate and prosecute certain high-ranking Government officials for violations of federal criminal laws. Under the Act, the Attorney General must conduct a preliminary investigation into any matter he deems sufficient to constitute grounds for investigation. The Attorney General then must report to the Special Division—a special court—created by the Act to appoint indpeendent counsel. If the Attorney General determins that there were reasonable gorunds to believe a further investigation or prosecution was warrented, he must apply to the Special Division for the appointment of an independent counsel. The Special Division then appointed an independent counsel, and defined that counsel’s prosecutorial jurisdiction. The Act contained a provision governing the length of an independent counsel’s tenure, and defining the procedures for terminating the counsel’s office. Under one of these provisions, the Attorney General could remove the independent counsel only for good cause or any condition that impaired the performance of the counsel’s duties.
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