Surprising controversy?

April 20, 2009
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The U.S. Senate is back from break and ready to get down to business. On the Senate executive calendar for today is the nomination of Indiana University Maurer School of Law Professor Dawn Johnsen. She’s been on the calendar in the past and nothing’s happened, so who knows if the Senate will actually get around to discussing her nomination today.

Johnsen, along with another nominee with an Indiana connection, federal judge David Hamilton, are causing quite a stir in Washington. There are some people and groups that adamantly oppose Johnsen becoming Assistant Attorney General of the Office of Legal Counsel or Judge Hamilton joining the 7th Circuit.

What are the chances that two nominees from Indiana would be so controversial? When I think of Indiana, I immediately think conservative, so I’m surprised that these nominees are being cited for their more “liberal” leanings or rulings.

I can understand why some groups may oppose Johnsen as a nominee – she has been very outspoken about former President George W. Bush’s policies and worked at NARAL Pro-Choice America and the American Civil Liberties Union before joining the Clinton administration. To some people, those are controversial organizations that work in areas others strongly oppose.

But when it comes to Judge Hamilton coming under fire for his rulings, I just don’t get it. As a judge, he has to decide based on the law. His controversial rulings just upheld the law. While you may not agree with his decisions, that doesn’t make him a bad judge or unfit for the bench.

At this time, we still don’t know if Johnsen or Judge Hamilton will be confirmed, but we’re keeping a close eye on it. What do you think about the controversy surrounding these two? Justified or unwarranted?
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  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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