Steven G. Bradbury

From SourceWatch
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Steven G. Bradbury, of McLean, Virginia, was nominated June 23, 2005, by President George W. Bush to be an Assistant Attorney General (Office of Legal Counsel) at the Department of Justice. His nomination[1] was sent to the U.S. Senate on June 23, 2005. Bradbury replaced[2] Jack Landman Goldsmith, who resigned.

Bush Administration War on Terror Memos

ProPublica notes that "the Bush administration’s "war on terror" - including its controversial policies on detentions, interrogations and warrantless wiretapping - were all underpinned by legal memoranda. While some of those memos have been released ... the former administration chose to keep many others secret, citing security and confidentiality concerns. The decision to release them now lies with President Obama. To help inform the debate - and inject an extra dose of accountability - we’re posting a list of the relevant memos, both public and secret." [1]

Memo authors include John C. Yoo, Steven G. Bradbury, Jay Bybee, James B. Comey, Robert J. Delahunty, Jack Goldsmith, James Ho, Daniel Levin, Patrick Philbin, legal architects (and some internal critics) of the Bush Administration's use of torture and detention policies now being reversed or reviewed by the Obama Administration.


At the time of his nomination,[1] Bradbury was serving as Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice.

Bradbury previously served as a Partner with Kirkland & Ellis, LLP in Washington, DC, "concentrating his practice in the areas of antitrust, securities law, telecommunications, appellate practice and administrative law." [2]

Bradbury served as a Law Clerk for The Honorable Clarence Thomas, Supreme Court of the United States (1992-1993) and for The Honorable James L. Buckley, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (1990-1991). He was also an Attorney Advisor, Office of Legal Counsel, U.S. Department of Justice (1991-1992). [3]

Bradbury earned his bachelor's degree in 1980 from Stanford University, where he belonged to Stanford's "alternative lifestyles" co-op, Synergy House, and his J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School.

In 2007, as head of the elite Office of Legal Counsel, Bradbury came under fire when it was revealed that he was the author of two secret legal opinions approved severe interrogation techniques by the US government [4].

Opinions & Documents

Gun Control

""The Second Amendment secures a right of individuals generally, not a right of States or a right restricted to persons serving in militias." --Memorandum Opinion for the Attorney General: "Whether the Second Amendment Secures an Individual Right," Department of Justice, August 24, 2004: Researched and prepared by: Steven G. Bradbury, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General; Howard C. Nielson, Jr., Deputy Assistant Attorney General; and C. Kevin Marshall, Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General. (93-page document was released December 17, 2004.)

Video News Releases OK

"Joshua B. Bolten, director of the Office of Management and Budget, and Steven G. Bradbury, principal deputy assistant attorney general at the Justice Department, said in memos last week that the administration disagrees with the GAO's ruling. And, in any case, they wrote, the department's Office of Legal Counsel, not the GAO, the investigative arm of Congress, provides binding legal interpretations for federal agencies to follow. ... The legal counsel's office 'does not agree with GAO that the covert propaganda prohibition applies simply because an agency's role in producing and disseminating information is undisclosed or covert, regardless of whether the content of the message is propaganda,' Bradbury wrote. 'Our view is that the prohibition does not apply where there is no advocacy of a particular viewpoint, and therefore it does not apply to the legitimate provision of information concerning the programs administered by an agency.'" --Christopher Lee, "Administration Rejects Ruling On PR Videos. GAO Called Tapes Illegal Propaganda," Washington Post, March 15, 2005.

Limits Prosecutions Under Health Privacy Law (HIPAA)

"A new ruling handed down by the Justice Department sharply limits the government's ability to criminally prosecute individuals for violations of HIPAA. The ruling, that was signed by Steven G. Bradbury, principal deputy assistant attorney general in charge of the office of legal counsel.

"The ruling stated that people who work for an entity covered by the act are not automatically covered by that law and therefore may not be subject to its criminal penalties, which include a $250,000 fine and 10 years in prison for the most serious violations. The opinion comes from the office of legal counsel to the Justice Department and is binding on the executive branch of the government, but not on judges." June 13, 2005.

Memoranda concerning Central Intelligence Agency interrogation program

Bradbury reportedly authored several memoranda addressing the legality of interrogation practices by the CIA. One Bradbury memorandum described the legal basis for a July 20, 2007 executive order issued by President Bush setting requirements for CIA interrogations to comply with Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, pursuant to the Military Commissions Act of 2006 and consistent with the Supreme Court's ruling in the 2006 case of Hamdan v. Rumsfeld.

Former Clients


  • "Court Ruling Wrongly Creates New Right To Sue Telecom Companies," by Steven G. Bradbury, a partner, and Grant M. Nixon, an associate, both with the law firm Kirkland & Ellis in its Washington, D.C. office. Legal Opinion Letter, August 30, 2002.


Related SourceWatch articles


  1. 1.0 1.1 Nominations, Office of the White House Press Secretary.
  2. Personnel announcement, Office of the White House Press Secretary, June 23, 2005.

External articles