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Tag: Dawn Johnsen

Washington Post Editorial Page Urges Confirmation of Dawn Johnsen to Head Justice Dept. Office of Legal Counsel

Dawn Johnsen

Dawn Johnsen

Washington Post Editorial Page
WASHINGTON — HERE ARE some facts about Dawn E. Johnsen, President Obama’s nominee to head the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC): She is a graduate of Yale Law School, spent roughly five years as legal director of the abortion rights group now known as NARAL Pro-Choice America, worked for the next five in the Clinton administration’s OLC, has been a professor at the Indiana University School of Law since 1998 and has been an outspoken critic of the Bush Justice Department’s legal justification for harsh interrogation techniques. In other words, Ms. Johnsen is undoubtedly qualified for the position, and she should be confirmed.

Ms. Johnsen’s confirmation has been held up by Republicans concerned that she’s an “ideologue,” in the words of Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.). Ms. Johnsen’s nomination squeaked by on a party-line vote before the Senate Judiciary Committee and has been stalled for the past month amid filibuster threats from some Republicans.

Let’s put aside, for the moment, the fact that the Justice Department under President Bush was perhaps the most politicized in a generation — and that among the most warped sections of the Bush Justice Department was the OLC. It is nonetheless legitimate to ask whether Ms. Johnsen will behave as badly as some of her immediate predecessors.

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Senate Judiciary Gives the Nod to Dawn Johnsen for DOJ Office of Legal Counsel

Dawn Johnsen

Dawn Johnsen

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON –If you’re looking for any inkling of bipartisanship in Washington, don’t count on  the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The committee voted 11-7  Thursday to confirm the nomination of  Dawn E. Johnsen as Office of Legal Counsel for the Justice Department.

All the Republicans voted against her except for Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), who passed on the vote. He said he was reserving judgment until he got a better sense of her views.

Johnsen,  an Indiana University law professor has been a big critic of the Bush administration’s policies. Johnsen still faces a confirmation by the full Senate.

A Snapshot of Justice Dept. Nominee Dawn Johnsen: Office of Legal Counsel

Dawn Johnsen

Dawn Johnsen

By AllGov
Dawn E. Johnsen is an outspoken critic of the Bush administration’s use of the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC)-a key part of the Department of Justice that she once led on an interim basis during the Clinton presidency and has been asked to lead again.

During her previous tenure at OLC, she advocated for increased executive power. In 2006, she joined with several other Clinton Justice Department officials in support of retaining the right of the president to use “signing statements” that allow him to bypass laws, claiming that the practice should be retained even if President Bush abused it.

Johnsen does not support the prosecution of CIA operatives and contract employees who committed torture. She does support investigating how it came to pass that the “OLC misinterpreted the law in a way that led to torture.”

Born August 14, 1961, and raised on Long Island, Johnsen graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Yale College in 1983, with a BA in economics and political science. She was accepted into Yale Law School, where she served as the article and book review editor of the Yale Law Journal. She received her JD in 1986, and proceeded to clerk for Judge Richard D. Cudahy on the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago. It was here that Johnsen met her future husband, fellow clerk John Hamilton.
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Obama Pick for Office of Legal Counsel is Harsh Critic of Bush Admin. Interrogation Tactics

Dawn Johnsen/university photo

Dawn Johnsen/university photo

Obama is making some key legal appointments who are likely to reverse many substantial and controversial Bush policies. Here’s one of those people.

By ERIC LICHTBLAU
New York Times
WASHINGTON – When Dawn Johnsen read a newly disclosed Justice Department legal opinion last April that blessed the president’s broad power to authorize rough interrogation tactics, she was outraged.
The legal memorandum, she wrote in a blog entry, was “shockingly flawed,” the constitutional arguments were “bogus,” the broad reading of presidential authority “outlandish,” and the “horrific acts” it encouraged against prisoners were probably illegal.
“Where is the outrage, the public outcry?!” Ms. Johnsen, a constitutional law professor at Indiana University, demanded in the posting.
Now, Ms. Johnsen will have the chance to overturn some of the legal opinions she so harshly condemned. President-elect Barack Obama said this week that he would nominate her to lead the Office of Legal Counsel, the Justice Department office that produced a series of hotly debated legal opinions on presidential power in the war on terror. She led the office on an acting basis during the Clinton administration but, in academia, has become one of the office’s fiercest critics.
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Other Stories Of Interest

Obama to Nominate David Ogden for Dep. Atty. General

David Ogden

David Ogden

By Alland Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON – As expected, private attorney David Ogden, a former Justice Department lawyer under President Clinton, will be the nominee for Deputy Attorney General.
President elect-Barack Obama made the announcement Monday morning.
Obama also  announced that he planned to nominate three other people from the Clinton administration to key posts: Elena Kagan for Solicitor General; Tom Perrelli for associate Attorney General and Dawn Johnsen for Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel.
According to the Obama press release:
  • Elena Kagan is currently the dean of Harvard Law School. She first started teaching as a visiting professor in 1999 and was appointed dean in 2003. Under Clinton, she served as associate counsel to president and later as deputy assistant to the President for Domestic Policy and Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council.
    Tom Perrelli is currently Managing Patner of Jenner & Block’s Washington office and is co-chair of the firm’s Entertainment and New Media Practice. From 1997 to 1999 he served as counsel to Atty. Gen. Janet Reno.
    David Ogden is a member of the Department of Justice Agency Review lead for the Obama transition team, is  a partner at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr. Under the Clinton administration, he served as assistant Attorney General, Civil Division from 1999 to 2001. Prior to that he served as chief of staff to Atty. Gen. Janet Reno.
    Dawn Johnsen is currently a professor at Indiana University School of Law – Bloomington where she teaches constitutional law. She previously served in the Office of Legal Counsel for the Justice Department as acting assistant attorney general and as deputy assistant attorney general in the Clinton Administration.