Pro-Abortion Obama Pick Dawn Johnsen Gets 60th Vote From Arlen Specter

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 12, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Abortion Obama Pick Dawn Johnsen Gets 60th Vote From Arlen Specter

by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 12
, 2010

Washington, DC ( — In a flip-flop that could provide her the 60th and final vote she needs to overcome a pro-life filibuster, pro-abortion Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter has changed his mind and decided to support Dawn Johnsen. She is the pro-abortion activist President Barack Obama nominated to a key Justice Department position.

Specter had been one of just a couple of Democrats to express any reservations over Johnsen’s nomination 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.

But Specter, a life-long Republican who switched over to the Democratic Party, announced today that he is caving in to lobbying from his Democratic Senate primary opponent, Rep. Joe Sestak, to back down and support Johnsen.

Sestak had slammed Specter claiming his opposition to Johnsen’s nomination was causing problems for the Obama administration and the nation. According to the Washington Post, Specter said he had met with Johnsen for a second time and that she assuaged the concerns he had about her nomination.

Senator Dick Lugar, an Indiana Republican who mostly votes pro-life, is also supporting Johnsen while Sen. Ben Nelson, a Nebraska Democrat, is opposing her.

Earlier this month, reported Obama planned to re-nominate Johnsen for the post.

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.

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.

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.

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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