Johnsen ‘watch’ is over

April 12, 2010
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Dawn Johnsen watch at Indiana Lawyer is over. Since her nomination to lead the Office of Legal Counsel, we waited for months and months (and months) for her nomination to be voted on … for her to be approved or rejected for the post. Nearly a year passed, and her nomination died. But she was re-nominated and approved again by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, so we waited some more for the full Senate to discuss and vote.

The wait is over. Johnsen withdrew her name from consideration for the post April 9. Our reporter Rebecca Berfanger described the situation in a previous post as “Dawn Johnsen fatigue.” Well, “Dawn Johnsen fatigue” has ended.

I was just at the investiture ceremony of her brother-in-law, 7th Circuit Judge David Hamilton, who briefly mentioned Johnsen, saying she deserved the nomination. When I got home from the ceremony an hour later, I learned she had withdrawn her name.

It’s surprising how long this process has taken, all the time essentially wasted, for us to reach this result. For 15 months, politics have held up Johnsen’s nomination. For 15 months, her life has been uncertain not knowing whether she’d be approved. And maybe most importantly, for 15 months, there still isn’t a Senate-approved head of that office in place. We are right back where we started in February 2009 when Johnsen’s name was submitted for the office.

The OLC is an important office. Let’s hope the next person nominated doesn’t have to wait 15 months to be approved or rejected by the Senate.
  • How sad the president and the nation will not have the benefit over her wise counsel.

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  1. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.