‘Dawn Johnsen fatigue’

February 15, 2010
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Today's post is from IL reporter Rebecca Berfanger:

I just Googled an Indiana University Maurer School of Law – Bloomington professor for what seems like the thousandth time in at least a year. And I’m guessing I’m not the only one … in fact, far from it.

Pretty much ever since President Obama first suggested he would nominate professor Dawn Johnsen to head the Office of Legal Counsel in January 2009 before his inauguration, there have been what seem to be countless blog postings, news updates, and posts on Facebook fan pages. There have been letters on Web sites of legal organizations that support her and letters on pro-life organizations’ sites that oppose her. There even have been updates to Johnsen’s Wikipedia page.

With the information overload, I think I’m suffering from what I’ve dubbed “Dawn Johnsen fatigue.”

This is nothing against Johnsen. From what I’ve heard from other sources in the last year, she’s a perfectly nice, reasonable person. In fact, I think I’ve even talked to her for an article or two prior to her nomination, but it’s just been so long since I could talk to her that I can’t remember. Unlike most people I’ve written about, Johnsen can’t talk to me directly about the nomination or the process – at least not until it’s over.

Our most recent article about her was in the Jan. 20-Feb. 2, 2010, edition, “Nomination revitalized,” after the president re-nominated her at the beginning of this year due to procedural reasons. She is now waiting on another Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, which was first postponed a few weeks ago due to scheduling at the Senate, then because of snow, and now because of the Senate’s weeklong recess.

Meanwhile, for the last year I’ve been receiving e-mail updates from my coworkers, Johnsen’s co-workers, and some in the know about her pending nomination.

Even when the law school announces she’ll be teaching a class, it makes the news. I don’t know why that’s such a big deal, considering that is her job – at least for now. It’s also my understanding from talking with others at the law school that her classes have been scheduled in a way that if she’s ever confirmed she will be able to start her job in Washington, D.C., as seamlessly as possible.

But every time there’s an update, it’s one more story I weed through in my Googling efforts to figure out what’s going on. While I wait, she waits. I can only imagine how much she’s been reading about herself as we’ve both been following the same story for approximately 13 months. Or maybe she’s not even following it anymore.

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  1. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  2. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  3. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues