Saturday, April 17, 2010
Wash. Post editorial: The Office of Legal Counsel, still in limbo:
NOMINEES EXPECT to be roughed up by members of the opposing party. But Dawn E. Johnsen's failed nomination to head the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) may be remembered for the mistreatment Ms. Johnsen suffered at the hands of friend and foe alike.
Ms. Johnsen withdrew from consideration for the Justice Department post last week after spending more than a year in limbo. A nationally renowned legal scholar, she served admirably in the OLC for five years during the Clinton administration and earned the support of a bipartisan coalition of former OLC chiefs for her "independence of mind."
Yet some Republicans and conservative groups smeared her as a wild-eyed liberal untethered to legal precedents and inconsiderate of presidential prerogatives. They claimed she intended to use the office to undermine national security and advance a radical abortion rights agenda. In truth, her only "sins" appear to have been her principled -- and correct -- criticism of the widely discredited Bush administration "torture memos" and her work early in her career on behalf of NARAL Pro-Choice America. . . .