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Amos T. Akerman to A. C. Cragen, 23 February 1871

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Feb. 23, 1871. Hon. A. C. Cragen, Chairman Committee on Naval Affairs, U.S. Senate Sir: In answer to your letter of the 20th inst. requesting my opinion upon the question whether an engineer in the Navy is subject to removal by the President, I have the honor to say that the law prescribing the duties of the Attorney General, as expounded by my predecessors, does not authorize that officer to render opinions on legal questions at the request of either House of Congress, or of Committees of those bodies. I refer you to the opinion of Mr. Wirt. (1 Opinions, p 335.) of Mr. Taney, (2 Opin, 490,) of Mr. Crittenden, (5 Opin. 561.) of Mr. Bates, (10 Opin. 164) and of Mr. Evarts, (12 Opin. 544.) Concurring with them in their exposition of the law, I do not feel at liberty to give the opinion which you request. Very respectfully, &c. A. T. Akerman, Attorney General.
Official opinion declined
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