How much more qualified should an appointee be?

When Dawn Johnsen was nominated to head the Office of Legal Counsel, there was much rejoicing by progressives. Glenn Greenwald wrote a GREAT post on her and her qualifications. That was back in January. Now, like we’re reliving a bad episode of the West Wing, Dawn Johnsen has become a political football. She’s committed two great sins in the eyes of conservatives (including conservative Democrats). First, she had the nerve to stand up for women’s reproductive rights. She has argued thoughtfully and credibly against the onslaught of restrictions that women are forced to endure. Secondly, she’d been highly critical of the garbage that the Office of Legal Counsel churned out during the Bush administration. (Please read Glenn’s piece which, as usual, is incredibly thorough.) This is a huge loss not only for Professor Johnsen but also for our country. Hopefully, the Obama administration will bring up her nomination again. Marcy has more —

From EmptyWheel:

Yesterday, when I wrote about 34 Obama Nominees Not Named Dawn Johnsen being confirmed by the Senate on the heels of the healthcare vote, and before they left town, I was not aware, in addition (h/t earlofhuntingdon), the nomination was now completely dead. From Main Justice:

The Senate approved a unanimous consent request today to hold over several nominees for the second session of the 111th Congress, which begins in January.

But nominees to head three DOJ offices: Dawn Johnsen, for the Office of Legal Counsel, Mary L. Smith, for the Tax Division, and Christopher Schroeder, for the Office of Legal Policy, were returned to the White House before the Senate recessed for the holidays.

Johnsen, who was nominated in February, was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee in March on a party line vote.

Several Senate Republicans, joined by Democratic Sens. Arlen Specter (Pa.) and Ben Nelson (Neb.), have voiced concerns about Johnsen’s vocal opposition to the Bush administration’s national security policies and her past work for an abortion rights group.

The nomination of Dawn Johnsen to be the head of the Office of Legal Counsel at DOJ, a critical post, is now truly dead. If Ms. Johnsen is to serve, she will have to be renominated by Barack Obama and start over. She never got the up or down vote promised as soon as the Senate had done healthcare, she never got an ounce of support from the Administration that nominated her, and a year of her life was taken in what certainly appears to be a cowardly and demeaning political ploy. (more…)

0 Responses

  1. The appointee should be able to live up to the expectation of the people. He must be able to respond to the challenges and responsibility being bestowed upon him.
    The winter holiday season is upon us – and the only thing that makes the nightmare of Thanksgiving and Christmas bearable is that we get to erase the horrible memories of them on New Years.  However, not all New Years Eve parties are going to be as grand as the attendees would like – because everyone just blew all their cash on buying presents for the various numbskulls that they commiserate with.  Find theme parties you can throw that double as potlucks, say everyone brings a dish common from a particular era or country, or have everyone split the check – and have a great New Years party without needing a lot of cash now.

  2. I’m not sure why Thanksgiving and Christmas are so miserable for you. I have enjoyed my time with my family. I didn’t and don’t buy presents for anyone that I don’t like. I just don’t do that.

    Again, I’m not sure that I follow the tradition of spenting NEW Years drunk with a bunch of people that I really don’t like very much. I usually spend the evening with my wife and maybe a few friends. No drunkenness because I’m not 18 any more.

    About 20 years ago, I went to the Hard Rock in Dallas with several friends and saw the late, great James Brown on New Years Eve. So, I started with year on the Good Foot!

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Errington C. Thompson, MD

Dr. Thompson is a surgeon, scholar, full-time sports fan and part-time political activist. He is active in a number of community projects and initiatives. Through medicine, he strives to improve the physical health of all he treats.


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