A little on the Office of Legal Counsel

UPDATE 10/27/21: Christopher Schroeder was confirmed to the office of Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel by the full Senate with a vote of 56 – 41.

Take action today by signing the petition asking Attorney General Merrick Garland to take immediate action in directing Schroeder to rescind the memo from Attorney General Bill Barr under the Trump Administration.

Who is Christopher Schroeder?

Christopher Schroeder’s nomination was just put forward for a full vote in the Senate as Biden’s pick to be the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) under the Department of Justice. He is currently serving as the Acting Assistant Attorney General for the OLC. He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law and served as the Editor in Chief of the California Law Review.

Schroeder served in the Clinton and Obama Administrations, as well as government agencies in a variety of posts; including Special Nominations Counsel for the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Counselor to the Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel, Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the United States Department of Justice, and eventually served as Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Policy in the Department of Justice under President Obama. 

Schroeder also served as Professor Emeritus of Law and Professor Emeritus of Public Policy at Duke University, and for many years was Charles S. Murphy Professor of Law and Professor of Public Policy Studies at Duke. He worked in the private sector as counsel for the law firm of O’Melveny & Myers, and as founding partner of the law firm of Armour, Schroeder, St. John Wilcox and Goodlin.

Why does he matter to the ERA?

Under the Trump Administration, Attorney General Barr’s Office of Legal Counsel issued a memo just before Virginia was expected to become the 38th ratifying state. This memo stated that it was the opinion of the OLC that the National Archivist did not have the responsibility of certifying the Amendment since the time limit added in the introduction to the bill and then extended had already passed. We think this memo was purely political and should be rescinded.

With a new Administration, Attorney General Merrick Garland can and should direct his soon-to-be confirmed Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel, Christopher Schroeder, to review and rescind the previous Administration’s memo on the Equal Rights Amendment, and tell the Archivist to immediately certify the ERA. 

During Schroeder’s confirmation hearings with the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, he stated that as the Assistant Attorney General of the OLC he would consider requests coming from the Executive branch, which would include a request coming from the Attorney General. 

We need the OLC to review and rescind this previous Administration’s memo immediately, and direct the Archivist to certify the Equal Rights Amendment since it has achieved the requirements set forth in the Constitution for an Amendment. This will clear one of the few remaining hurdles left standing between us and equality under the law.

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