Professor Kmiec provides an accurate and insightful look at the work of the Department of Justice and, in particular, the Office of Legal Counsel. As head of OLC and earlier as its principal deputy, Doug Kmiec was very much "the Attorney General's Lawyer," and I was glad for it. This book recounts many of the constitutional and statutory issues upon which Professor Kmiec provided principled and candid legal advice to the President, to me, and indeed, to the entire executive branch. More than anything else, his account reveals the thorough, searching intellectual examination the Department brought to controversial legal questions, such as affirmative action, abortion, property rights, and school choice. His chapters on federalism and the unitary executive illustrate his scholar's appreciation for the structural provisions and fundamental principles of our Constitution. They also show how his legal advice was critical to DOJ's work to preserve the constitutional authority of the presidency and a proper balance between state and federal power.
As the story unfolds, Professor Kmiec reveals how decisions were reached and describes the spirited and hard-hitting debate before--and sometimes after--positions were taken. More than anything else, the book completely debunks the myth that there ever was one monolithic, lock-step conservative agenda dictating legal outcomes before analysis. As his chapter on the search for original intent indicates, what all of us were after, then and now, was, quite simply, respect for the rule of law, including the Constitution as our nation's most important source of written law.
This book is a vital addition to the undistorted history of the Reagan