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Editorial: Political pomposity a disservice to public

Editorial Indiana Lawyer
April 28, 2010
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Indiana Lawyer Editorial


She deserved the nomination, and definitely was the right woman for the job, but unfor tunately partisan vitriol appears to be worth more in Washington, D.C., than doing the right thing.

Dawn Johnsen withdrew her name from consideration to head the Office of Legal Counsel April 9, the same day her brother-in-law, Judge David Hamilton, was formally elevated to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals during an investiture ceremony in Indianapolis.

It was her second trip through what must be a grueling process: Senate confirmation. The Indiana University Maurer School of Law professor was nominated in early 2009, but her nomination stalled at year's end after no vote was taken. President Barack Obama renominated her this year, but we're not entirely sure why. We understand from news accounts regarding her nomination that the Obama administration was working quietly behind-the-scenes to gain a full Senate vote for Johnsen to lead OLC, but the opposition to her was anything but behind-the-scenes. And sena tors who opposed the professor certainly weren't shy about expressing their relief when Johnsen withdrew her name from consideration.

We aspire to being as gracious as she was in the statement she made announcing her decision: "Restoring OLC to its best nonpartisan traditions was my primary objective for my anticipated service in this administration. Unfortunately, my nomination has met with lengthy delays and political opposition that threaten that objective and prevent OLC from functioning at full strength. I hope that the withdrawal of my nomination will allow this important office to be filled promptly."

We'd also some day like to be as patient as she is. Answer this: When was the last time you waited 15 months to learn whether you got the job? And to do all of this with not one whit of public reaction while being publically maligned and marginalized by members of the political opposition?

It's been nearly three weeks and we're still shaking our heads at the loss of her service to the country.

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  1. Just an aside, but regardless of the outcome, I 'm proud of Judge William Hughes. He was the original magistrate on the Home place issue. He ruled for Home Place, and was primaried by Brainard for it. Their tool Poindexter failed to unseat Hughes, who won support for his honesty and courage throughout the county, and he was reelected Judge of Hamilton County's Superior Court. You can still stand for something and survive. Thanks, Judge Hughes!

  2. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  3. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  4. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  5. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

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