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Dawn Johnsen Withdraws DOJ Nomination

Dawn Johnsen withdrew her nomination to be the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) within the Department of Justice on Friday. Johnsen’s nomination has been held up for more than a year because of Republican opposition in Congress. She was first nominated in January 2009 and President Obama resubmitted her nomination in January 2010. Johnsen’s nomination was approved by the Senate Judiciary committee on a party line vote in March 2009 and again in March 2010, but her nomination never made it to a floor vote. Johnsen was not among the recess appointments the President recently offered to 15 other stalled nominees. According to the New York Times, a White House official said that Obama did not include Johnsen in this group because doing so would have undermined administration efforts to make sure the Office of Legal Counsel remains above partisan politics. In a statement, Johnsen said, “Restoring OLC to its best nonpartisan traditions was my primary objective for my anticipated service in this administration. Unfortunately, my nomination has met with lengthy delays and political opposition that threaten that objective and prevent OLC from functioning at full strength. I hope that the withdrawal of my nomination will allow this important office to be filled promptly.,” reported Talking Points Memo. Johnson is currently a professor of law at Indiana University and worked with the Obama/Biden transition team for the Office of Legal Counsel. She also served in the Clinton White House and was the legal director at NARAL Pro-Choice America for five years.

Sources:

New York Times 4/9/10; Talking Points Memo 4/9/10; Feminist Daily Newswire 1/22/10

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