In Whitman's Hand

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

Date: February 23, 1871

Whitman Archive ID: nar.02922

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Contributors to digital file: Nima Najafi Kianfar, Courtney Rebecca Lawton, and Kenneth M. Price

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Feb. 23, 1871.

Hon. A. C. Cragen,

Chairman Committee on Naval Affairs,

U.S. Senate


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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