Tuesday, February 16, 2010
The Washington Post has two useful tools to track White House activity and the status of presidential nominations. POTUS Tracker analyzes how the President spends his time--by issue, by events, by speeches--and provides the President's daily schedule. Head Count tracks the status of presidential appointments.
We were interested in what Head Count might tell us about the status of one important nomination, Dawn Johnsen to lead the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel. Head Count correctly lists her as "nominated," but doesn't give any more information. In fact, the Senate Judiciary Committee last week held over her nomination (which expired, but which the White House said it will resubmit)--a year to the day after her nomination. The day after the Judiciary Committee's non-action, Senator Specter indicated that he'll support Johnsen--perhaps providing the tipping point for this nomination.
In the meantime, the OLC has been slow to make its opinions public. They trickled out on the OLC web-site last fall (with several older ones released around the same time in November and December), and, a month and a half into the new year, the Office has yet to even list 2010 as an option for searching its opinions by year. We can't imagine they're doing nothing, what with all the constitutional issues raised in the administration's initiatives (take health care, e.g.); and the slow pace of release seems at odds with the administration's stated commitment to transparency.
Not that these two have anything necessarily to do with each other (maybe, maybe not), but the Senate should act on Johnsen's nomination now--a year is far too long to let such an important nomination sit--and the OLC should again publicize its work, with or without a Senate-confirmed leader.