The Yale Law Journal


The 150th Anniversary of the Department of Justice

Last July marked the 150th anniversary of the establishment of the Department of Justice. The Department is perhaps as politicized as it’s ever been, and its relationship with the American public is fraught. In this Collection, alumni from the Department analyze what happened and what the future looks like.



Eric H. Holder, Jr.

Former Attorney General Eric Holder reflects on the Justice Department’s unique role in American society.


The Civil Rights Division: The Crown Jewel of the Justice Department

Christy Lopez

This Essay contrasts the recent history of the Civil Rights Division with the first decades of its existence, arguing that civil rights advocates today should do more than reverse the harms of the Trump years. Rather, advocates must leverage the Division’s institutional dynamics to ensure its effect…


Thwarting the Separation of Powers in Interbranch Information Disputes

Annie L. Owens

The Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) advises the President in information disputes with Congress. This Essay analyzes how OLC’s increasingly aggressive separation-of-powers advice, the Trump Administration’s utilization of OLC opinions to resist congressional information requests, and congressional acq…


Treat Every Defendant Equally and Fairly: Political Interference and the Challenges Facing the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices as the Justice Department Turns 150 Years Old

Joyce White Vance

How do the US Attorneys’ Offices restore their damaged credibility with the public? New laws and policies designed to preserve the independence of the Justice Department from politicization are much needed. But it will be even more important to rebuild public trust by reinforcing the culture of inde…


Stare Decisis in the Office of the Solicitor General

Michael R. Dreeben

The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) is generally believed to operate under its own form of stare decisis. But in many circumstances, OSG best serves governmental interests and those of the Supreme Court by submitting positions that it believes are right, even if they depart from prior submissi…