Who May Request Administrative Agency Opinions

Federal Law provides that the head of an executive department may request an opinion of the Attorney General[i].  Department heads may request opinions on questions of law arising in the administration of his/her department.  Subordinate government officials who need opinions from the Attorney General may do so through their department heads[ii].  The Attorney General is required to give official opinion only to the President or to the heads of departments[iii].  However, the Attorney General is not required to give advice to;

  • Legislative Department[iv].
  • Local Officers[v].
  • Regents of Smithsonian Institution[vi].
  • To Individuals on claims against the  Federal Government[vii].
  • Particular Government Employees[viii].
  • Questions under consideration by the courts[ix].
  • Questions arising in the Department of Justice [x].

When the department head requests opinion of the Attorney General, s/he should state the material facts and advice desired[xi].  Also the department head should authoritatively state that the facts from which question of law arises are true[xii].

[i] 28 USCS § 512

[ii] 1 Op. Atty Gen. 211

[iii] ibid

[iv] 18 Op. Atty Gen. 87

[v] 6 Op. Atty Gen. 21

[vi] 6 Op. Atty Gen. 24

[vii] 6 Op. Atty Gen. 147

[viii] 39 Op. Atty Gen. 446

[ix] 32 Op. Atty Gen. 472

[x] 21 Op. Atty Gen. 6

[xi] 14 Op. Atty Gen. 367

[xii] 10 Op. Atty Gen. 267


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