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 When I got home from the ceremony an hour later, I learned she had withdrawn her name.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.
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  • How sad the president and the nation will not have the benefit over her wise counsel.

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  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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