ILNews

Hoosiers see holiday activity on nominations

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2009
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Indiana's legal community got a mixed bag of gifts on Christmas Eve, as one former Hoosier attorney received Senate confirmation for an ambassadorship, a federal prosecutor in Hammond learned he might be promoted, and a Bloomington law professor got what amounts to a lump of coal as senators declined to act on her nearly year-old nomination.

The flurry of activity started late Dec. 23 and carried over into Christmas Eve, with Sen. Evan Bayh announcing first that David Capp would be the pick for the U.S. Attorney in the Northern District of Indiana. The veteran prosecutor has been with the office for 24 years, serving three times as interim chief and most recently since July 2007 when his predecessor Joseph Van Bokkelen took the federal bench. Capp now faces Senate confirmation, a process that will likely begin in early 2010.

The White House officially announced Capp's nomination on Dec. 24, just hours after the U.S. Senate made the historic vote on health-care reform and followed that up with action on several pending nominations.

One of those nominees approved was Anne Slaughter Andrew, whom the president had chosen in October to be ambassador to Costa Rica. She is the principal of Washington, D.C.-based New Energy Nexus LLC and advises companies and entrepreneurs about ways to capitalize on this new energy economy. An attorney who earned her degree from Indiana University School of Law - Indianapolis, Andrew has also advised companies in corporate environmental and energy practices and served as of counsel at Bingham McHale, was co-chair of the Environment/Energy Team at Baker & Daniels, and was a partner at the Washington, D.C., law office of Patton & Boggs.

But while approving Andrew and multiple others for positions, the Senate declined to act on seven pending nominations. In a unanimous consent agreement, the Senate sent back to the White House for consideration the nomination of Dawn Elizabeth Johnsen, a professor at Indiana University Maurer School of Law - Bloomington. She was chosen in January to run the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel. Opposition stacked up against her during the past year, specifically about her criticism of the department during the Bush administration and the use of executive powers.

The White House must now decide whether to renominate Johnsen and six other nominees, or find new nominees for those vacant posts. The White House didn't respond to an email from Indiana Lawyer seeking comment on this action, nor did a spokesman in Sen. Bayh's office in Washington, D.C.
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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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