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 When I got home from the ceremony an hour later, I learned she had withdrawn her name.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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