Steven Bradbury

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Steven G. Bradbury was Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) of the U.S. Department of Justice from 2005 to 2009. Bradbury was nominated for Assistant Attorney General in June 2005, and was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee, but the nomination never came before the full Senate. Since nominations have a time limit, he was renominated several times; Democrats had asked his nomination to be permanently withdrawn in 2007.[1] He now is in the private practice of law.

Before the Obama Administration took office, the Justice Department rescinded a number of the main OLC opinions related to policies in the war on terror framework of the George W. Bush Administration.[2] He authored three of the legal opinions about enhanced interrogation techniques sent to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), released on April 16, 2009.[3]

United Press International reported that the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) had issued an internal report critical of Bradbury, as well as John Yoo and Jay Bybee. Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey criticized the report for not including their responses; UPI said another Justice Department attorney questioned OPR's ability to judge the constitutional issues in the opinions being questioned. [4]


He received his bachelor's degree, in 1980, from Stanford University, and his law degree from the University of Michigan in 1988. He replaced Ann Coulter as articles editor on the law review. After graduation, he worked for Covington & Burling for two years.[1] He then was a law clerk for Judge James L. Buckley, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (1990-1991), and the older brother of William F. Buckley Jr. He changed his political registration from Democratic to Republican, spent a year as a staff attorney in OLC, and then clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas, Supreme Court of the United States.

From 1993 to his 2004 appointment as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in OLC, he was a partner inKirkland & Ellis, specializing involving antitrust, securities law, telecommunications, appellate practice and administrative law. Other partners included conservatives Kenneth Starr and John Bolton.