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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. 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.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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