Case #396.0

Oversight of the Criminal Division (B)

Publication Date: January 01, 1981
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Philip Heymann, assistant attorney general in the criminal division of the Department of Justice, is under pressure from Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to provide them with files on several public corruption cases and to produce as a witness a career member of his staff, Thomas Henderson. Heymann fears that they are on a witchhunt with one of his subordinates as the target. As the pressure mounts, he consults his old friend and former teaching colleague, Stephen Breyer, then staff director of the Senate Judiciary Committee (and now Supreme Court Justice). Heymann must decide how to respond to the senators. The supplement to the case offers Breyer's observations on the incident.

Learning Objective:
The case may be used as a vehicle to discuss bureaucratic response to congressional pressure, allowing students to gain insight into the complexities of congressional-executive relations. More generally, the case is designed to illustrate the complexity and subtlety of an overall strategy and the difficulty of making decisions in light of that strategy. It also illustrates the role of (necessarily uncertain) predictions about the reaction of other participants in a manager's decision.

Other Details

Teaching Plan:
Available with Educator Access
Case Author:
Nancy Dolberg
Faculty Lead:
Stephanie Gould
Pages (incl. exhibits):
United States