Growing White House Counsel’s Office Includes Ivy League Profs, Bush Critics
Posted Jan 30, 2009 8:34 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
The increase in ranks at the White House counsel’s office has raised some fears of infighting between lawyers there and in other federal offices.
At least 22 lawyers will work under White House counsel Greg Craig, more than double the number who worked there in the Bush administration, the Washington Post reports. Many of them have Ivy League affiliations and many have criticized the terrorism policies of George W. Bush.
One of the lawyers staffing the office will be Norman Eisen, the co-founder of Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility who sued the Bush White House over missing e-mail, the story says. Others include Harvard law professors Daniel Meltzer and Mary DeRosa, and Neal Wolin, a former insurance executive and national security official.
One Republican lawyer told the Post that the White House lawyers could seek to control legal issues usually handled in Cabinet departments, leading to confusion and infighting. Other lawyers said the office should not take important legal decisions away from Justice Department lawyers, including those in the Office of Legal Counsel.
Pepperdine law professor Douglas Kmiec is one commentator advising caution. "It is important for there to be a good working relationship between OLC and the White House counsel, but OLC must retain the ability to take issue even with the judgments of the White House counsel when necessary," he told the Post.