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 —
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…)