Johnsen’s Nomination Remains Stalled

Posted May 29, 2009 at 1:59pm

The Senate will continue to work through a backlog of executive nominations when it returns to work next week, but still missing from the lineup will be Dawn Johnsen, the controversial nominee tapped to lead the Office of Legal Counsel.

A spokeswoman for Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said her boss does not plan to advance Johnsen’s nomination next week and that staff continues to talk with Republicans to try to work out an agreement.

Reid noted just before the Memorial Day recess that he was short of the 60 votes needed to bring Johnsen’s nomination to the floor. He also said he needed to find a few Republicans to support her installment, which also is opposed by Democratic Sens. Ben Nelson (Neb.) and Arlen Specter (Pa.).

The chamber Monday will consider the nomination of Regina McCarthy to be an assistant administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency.

Johnsen, an Indiana University law professor, has come under fire from some social conservatives with concerns over her positions on abortion and the war on terror.

Johnsen had a contentious confirmation hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Feb. 25. The panel approved her nomination on March 20 on a party-line 11-7 vote.