Pro-Abortion Obama Pick Dawn Johnsen Withdraws Name for Justice Department Slot

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 11, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Abortion Obama Pick Dawn Johnsen Withdraws Name for Justice Department Slot

by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 11
, 2010

Washington, DC ( — Dawn Johnson, the ardently pro-abortion Indiana University law professor President Barack Obama selected for a prominent Justice Department position has withdrawn her name from consideration. With all Republicans and a couple of Democrats joining together to filibuster her nomination, Johnsen’s nomination languished and she has now pulled out of the process.

Obama named the former NARAL legal counsel to be confirmed as head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, but she withdrew her name on Friday because of the “lengthy delays and political opposition” to her stalled nomination.

The Senate Judiciary Committee twice confirmed her nomination on partisan votes, but it has been delayed for about a year because of her radical pro-abortion views — with Johnsen once comparing pregnancy to slavery in a legal brief.

“I am deeply honored that President Obama, the Attorney General and a strong majority of the U.S. Senate have demonstrated faith and confidence in my ability to lead the Office of Legal Counsel,” she said in a statement. “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.”

Sen. Jeff Sessions, a pro-life Alabama Republican who is the top GOP member of the Senate committee, said he was pleased Johnsen withdrew her name from consideration.
In doing so, he said Johnsen "has heeded the concerns raised by many who care deeply about the Department of Justice."

"Johnsen’s record of partisanship and her long history of extreme views and troubling activism relating to issues such as abortion and national security made her an unacceptable choice to fill this crucial role in the Department of Justice. It is not surprising that the Democrat-controlled Senate never made an effort to bring her nomination to a vote on the floor. Had they done so, the nomination certainly would have faced bipartisan opposition," he added.

White House spokesman Ben Labolt said Obama accepted Johnsen’s request to take her name out of consideration for the prominent legal position.

The election of Scott Brown in Massachusetts was thought to be the death knell for her nomination because it would again give opponents enough votes to uphold a filibuster against her — but Obama re-nominated Johnsen anyway

Johnsen made it through the Senate panel on a party-line vote last March but Republican lawmakers had opposed Johnsen over her rabidly pro-abortion position and because of other political issues, such as terrorism.

Johnsen originally found herself the subject of a Republican filibuster supported by a couple of Democrats, but when pro-abortion Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter caved in to a Democratic primary opponent and flip-flopped to supporting her, the Obama administration signaled she would be re-nominated and would get enough votes to overcome the filibuster.

That’s because Indiana Sen. Dick Lugar, who normally votes pro-life, said he would support the Johnsen nomination.

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

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.

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