The White House announced today that President Obama will renominate Dawn Johnsen, his choice to head the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), along with other nominees whose confirmations were obstructed by Republicans last year. In a late December political maneuver, GOP senators refused to allow the nominations to remain on the executive calendar, forcing the President to resubmit their nominations when the Senate reconvenes later this month.
The renomination of Johnsen-the Obama nominee who has waited the longest for a vote-is especially noteworthy. Currently a professor at Indiana University School of Law, Johnsen is extraordinarily well-qualified to head the Office of Legal Counsel. She served for more than five years in that office during the Clinton administration, including as its acting head for more than a year. She has the bipartisan support of both her home state senators and from former heads of OLC from both political parties. Senior officials from every administration since Gerald Ford’s have endorsed her nomination.
“President Obama made an excellent choice in Professor Johnsen to lead OLC, and today he’s shown his willingness to stand on principle and call the Republicans on their attack and delay tactics,” said Marge Baker, Executive Vice President of People For the American Way. “President Obama’s decision today is a refutation of the GOP’s efforts to spin this eminently qualified nominee as a controversial choice, and he should be applauded. Professor Johnsen’s legal scholarship, her integrity, her substantive knowledge, and her commitment to this nation’s security and to the rule of law will serve this country well once she’s confirmed.”
In a recent analysis, People For the American Way documented the new records in abuse of the filibuster set by Senate Republicans, who have forced time-consuming procedural votes on dozens of legislative matters despite broad bipartisan support.
“Despite being presented with an obviously qualified group of nominees, the GOP has plumbed new depths in delay and obstruction in the Senate-especially in preventing the President from filling crucial administration positions,” said Baker. “The GOP seems intent on delay, delay, delay, no matter what the cost to the nation. The Senate should move quickly to confirm these nominees.”
People For the American Way is collecting petitions calling on the Senate to confirm Dawn Johnsen. You can see the petition language here.