Alliance for Justice has been asked to circulate a national sign-on letter in support of the nomination of Dawn Johnsen to lead the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel. We are pleased to share this letter with you as her nomination has languished for more than eight months, and it is critical that we fill this important executive branch position.
As you well know, the Office of Legal Counsel plays a critical role in protecting our constitutional rights. It tells the President and the rest of the executive branch whether proposed policies, executive orders, and other actions are within the Constitution and the law.
Dawn Johnsen, who is currently on faculty at the Maurer School of Law at Indiana University in Bloomington, is eminently qualified to head this office. She has practical experience, legal expertise, proven judgment and independence. Moreover, she has support from an impressive bipartisan group of former Administration officials, including: Walter Dellinger, Solicitor General and head of the Office of Legal Counsel under President Clinton; Doug Kmiec, head of the Office under George H. W. Bush; Lawrence Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell; and Brad Berenson, who served in George W. Bush’s White House Counsel’s office.
Dawn Johnsen also has support from a majority in the Senate. Unfortunately, her nomination, along with many others, is being delayed. This obstruction interferes with the ability of the Obama administration to serve critical public needs and it defies the typical deference that is accorded presidents to fill their administration with individuals of their choosing.
I hope you will join the growing chorus of legal luminaries like yourself who are calling upon Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to bring this nomination to a vote at the earliest possible date.
-Posted by Bridget Crawford