OLC Opinion in the News:

Charlie Savage has an article in the New York Times today about an OLC opinion released in late August addressing the constitutionality of Section 7054 of the Fiscal Year 2009 Foreign Appropriations Act. The opinion concluded that the provision unconstitutionally infringes the President's foreign affairs powers and thus the President can disregard it. Savage writes:

The Justice Department has declared that President Obama can disregard a law forbidding State Department officials from attending United Nations meetings led by representatives of nations considered to be sponsors of terrorism.

Based on that decision, which echoes Bush administration policy, the Obama administration sent State Department officials to the board meetings of the United Nations’ Development Program and Population Fund in late spring and this month, a department spokesman said. The bodies are presided over by Iran, which is on the department’s terror list, along with Cuba, Sudan and Syria.

The article quotes an occasional Conspirator (uh, me).

The opinion supported one of President Obama's signing statements. It read, in relevant part:

Certain provisions of the bill, in titles I and IV of Division B, title IV of Division E, and title VII of Division H, would unduly interfere with my constitutional authority in the area of foreign affairs by effectively directing the Executive on how to proceed or not proceed in negotiations or discussions with international organizations and foreign governments. I will not treat these provisions as limiting my ability to negotiate and enter into agreements with foreign nations.