President Barack Obama to Re-Nominate Pro-Abortion Dawn Johnsen to Top Post

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 7, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

President Barack Obama to Re-Nominate Pro-Abortion Dawn Johnsen to Top Post

by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 7
, 2010

Washington, DC ( — President Barack Obama will re-nominate pro-abortion attorney Dawn Johnson to head the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel. Johnsen, a law professor at Indiana University, is a former legal counsel for the pro-abortion group NARAL who has made several controversial remarks.

Her nomination has been delayed by Republicans who oppose her because she is strongly pro-abortion — going as far as saying pregnant women are subjected to a form of slavery — and because of other political reasons.

If confirmed, Johnsen would be in charge of the office that formulates the attorney general’s formal opinions and provides counsel on the thorniest legal questions.

White House officials today confirmed that Obama will renominate Johnsen, along with other nominees whose nominations expired this year, when the Senate reconvenes later this month following its Christmas recess.

The news drew support from abortion advocates with Marge Baker, vice-president of People For the American Way, applauding the decision and attacking her opponents.

"President Obama made an excellent choice in Professor Johnsen to lead OLC, and today he’s shown his willingness to stand on principle and call the Republicans on their attack and delay tactics," she said.

Sen. John Cornyn of Texas helped lead the opposition to Johnsen in the Senate Judiciary Committee, which approved her nomination and sent it to the full Senate.

He has said Johnson "has not demonstrated the seriousness and necessary resolve to address the national security challenges we face."

Because Senate Republicans are essentially filibustering Johnsen’s nomination, it will require 60 votes to confirm her for the influential post.

Since her nomination has been placed on hold, Obama could give the abortion advocate a recess appointment, which would be good until the end of the 111th Congress in January 2011 or until she is confirmed, whichever comes first. Or, as appears to be the case, he could renominate her for a full-term to the position.

In a brief filed when she was a lawyer with NARAL, Johnsen cited a footnote that said forcing women to bear children was "disturbingly suggestive of involuntary servitude, prohibited by the 13th Amendment, in that forced pregnancy requires a woman to provide continuous physical service to the fetus in order to further the state’s asserted interest."

Johnsen told lawmakers at her hearing that she merely suggested an analogy in the footnote and "never believed the 13th Amendment had any role" in the abortion issue.

The pro-abortion activist has come under fire for calling women "fetal containers" and comparing pregnancy with slavery. She has also come under fire for labeling pregnant women "losers in the contraceptive lottery" and comparing pro-lifers to the Klu Klux Klan.

She returned to Indiana University in August to teach a class because of the delay in her nomination.

Johnsen was the Legal Director for NARAL from 1988-1993. After that, she served in the Clinton administration as the Acting Assistant Attorney General heading the Office of Legal Counsel from 1997-1998 and as Deputy Assistant Attorney General from 1993-1996. She also served on the Clinton transition team in 1992.

The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on Johnsen in February, where she received a party-line 11-7 vote in favor of moving her nomination to the full Senate.

ACTION: Contact your senators at and urge strong opposition to the Johnsen nomination.

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