The White House counsel is a senior staff appointee of the president of the United States whose role is to advise the president on all legal issues concerning the president and their administration. The White House counsel also oversees the Office of White House Counsel, a team of lawyers and support staff who provide legal guidance for the president and the White House Office. At least when White House counsel is advising the president on legal matters pertaining to the duties or prerogatives of the president, this office is also called Counsel to the President.[1]

White House Counsel
Ed Siskel
since September 11, 2023
First holderSamuel Rosenman

Ed Siskel is the current White House Counsel, serving since September 11, 2023.

Responsibilities edit

The Office of Counsel to the President and Vice President was created in 1943, and is responsible for advising on all legal aspects of policy questions; legal issues arising in connection with the president's decision to sign or veto legislation, ethical questions, financial disclosures; and conflicts of interest during employment and post employment. The counsel's office also helps define the line between official and political activities, oversees executive appointments and judicial selection, handles presidential pardons, reviews legislation and presidential statements, and handles lawsuits against the president in his role as president, as well as serving as the White House contact for the Department of Justice.

Limitations edit

Although the White House counsel offers legal advice to the president and vice president, the counsel does so in the president's and vice president's official capacity, and does not serve as the president's personal attorney. Therefore, controversy has emerged over the scope of the attorney–client privilege between the counsel and the president and vice president, namely with John Dean of Watergate notoriety. It is clear, however, that the privilege does not apply in strictly personal matters. It also does not apply to legislative proceedings by the U.S. Congress against the president due to allegations of misconduct while in office, such as formal censures or impeachment proceedings. In those situations the president relies on a personal attorney if he desires confidential legal advice. The office is also distinct from the judiciary, and from others who are not appointed to positions but nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate. These would be foremost the attorney general of the United States, and the principal deputy and other assistants, who are nominated by the president to oversee the United States Department of Justice, or the solicitor general of the United States and staff (the solicitor general is the fourth-ranking official in the Justice Department), who argue cases before the U.S. Supreme Court (and in lower federal courts) for the Justice Department when it is a party to the case.

List of White House counsels edit

Image Name Start End President
  Samuel Rosenman October 2, 1943 February 1, 1946 Franklin D. Roosevelt
Harry S. Truman
  Clark Clifford February 1, 1946 January 31, 1950
  Charles Murphy January 31, 1950 January 20, 1953
  Tom Stephens January 20, 1953
On leave
April 14, 1953 Dwight D. Eisenhower
  Bernard Shanley January 20, 1953
Acting: January 20, 1953 – April 14, 1953
February 19, 1955
  Gerald Morgan February 19, 1955 November 5, 1958
  David Kendall November 5, 1958 January 20, 1961
  Ted Sorensen January 20, 1961 February 29, 1964 John F. Kennedy
Lyndon B. Johnson
  Mike Feldman April 1964 January 17, 1965
  Lee White January 17, 1965 February 11, 1966
  Milton Semer February 14, 1966 December 31, 1966
  Harry McPherson February 11, 1966 October 26, 1967
  Larry Temple October 26, 1967 January 20, 1969
  John Ehrlichman January 20, 1969 November 4, 1969 Richard Nixon
  Chuck Colson November 6, 1969 July 9, 1970
  John Dean July 9, 1970 April 30, 1973
  Len Garment April 30, 1973 August 9, 1974
  Philip Buchen August 9, 1974 January 20, 1977 Gerald Ford
  Robert Lipshutz January 20, 1977 October 1, 1979 Jimmy Carter
  Lloyd Cutler October 1, 1979 January 20, 1981
  Fred Fielding January 20, 1981 May 23, 1986 Ronald Reagan
  Peter Wallison May 23, 1986 March 20, 1987
  Arthur Culvahouse March 20, 1987 January 20, 1989
  Boyden Gray January 20, 1989 January 20, 1993 George H. W. Bush
  Bernard Nussbaum January 20, 1993 March 8, 1994 Bill Clinton
  Lloyd Cutler March 8, 1994 October 1, 1994
  Abner Mikva October 1, 1994 November 1, 1995
  Jack Quinn November 1, 1995 February 1997
  Chuck Ruff February 1997 August 6, 1999
  Cheryl Mills
August 6, 1999 September 1999
  Beth Nolan September 1999 January 20, 2001
  Alberto Gonzales January 20, 2001 February 3, 2005 George W. Bush
  Harriet Miers February 3, 2005 January 31, 2007
  Fred Fielding January 31, 2007 January 20, 2009
  Greg Craig January 20, 2009 January 3, 2010 Barack Obama
  Bob Bauer January 3, 2010 June 30, 2011
  Kathy Ruemmler June 30, 2011 June 2, 2014
  Neil Eggleston June 2, 2014 January 20, 2017
  Don McGahn January 20, 2017 October 17, 2018 Donald Trump
  Emmet Flood
October 18, 2018 December 10, 2018
  Pat Cipollone December 10, 2018 January 20, 2021
  Dana Remus January 20, 2021 July 1, 2022 Joe Biden
  Stuart Delery July 1, 2022 September 11, 2023
  Ed Siskel September 11, 2023 present

References edit

  1. ^ Letter from Dana A. Remus, Counsel to the President, to Daniel Ferreiro, Archivist of the United States, dated October 8, 2021, issued by The White House as a Release on October 12, 2021. See also, letter of Darell Issa, then Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to W. Neil Eggleston, then "Counsel to the President," dated July 11, 2014, which letter appears as the 2nd item in the Appendix to the record of the July 16, 2014 session of a Hearing of said House Committee.

External links edit