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Constitutional Law Keyed to Maggs
Morrison v. Olson
Citation:487 U.S. 654 (1988)
The Ethics in Government Act of 1978 required the Attorney General, upon “sufficient grounds” to investigate, to conduct a preliminary investigation of possible official violations of federal criminal law. The Attorney General would then report to the U.S Court of Appeals as to whether there were reasonable grounds to believe that further investigation is warranted. If the Attorney General found such reasonable grounds, she must apply for the appointment of an independent counsel and the Court of Appeals appointed such counsel and defined her jurisdiction. In 1983, the White House refused to turn over certain documents regarding environmental policies to Congress on grounds of executive privilege. Congress called appellee, Theodore Olson, who was then the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel, to testify about the Justice Department’s role in this matter. Questions subsequently arose whether Olson had testified truthfully. The Special Division eventually appointed Alexia Morrison as an independent counsel to investigate the charges. Appellees claimed that the Act violates the Appointments Clause.
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