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Nelson: Dawn Johnsen Nomination Unlikely to Move This Year

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) predicted Wednesday that Dawn Johnsen’s controversial nomination to head the Office of Legal Counsel won’t come up this year.

“I don’t know if it’ll be brought up,— Nelson told reporters Wednesday, noting that Johnsen’s nomination ran into snags last year.

Nelson’s comments came as conservatives declared that Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown’s installment in the Senate will ultimately doom a handful of Obama administration nominees.

“Scott Brown’s election means her nomination is now likely dead in the water,— Committee for Justice Executive Director Curt Levey said in a statement.

Nelson and Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) both voiced concerns about Johnsen last year. Republicans and a few moderate Democrats took issue with her previous stances on abortion and Bush administration torture policies, and her nomination was ultimately sent back to the White House after the it lagged on the Senate calendar for eight months. President Barack Obama renominated Johnsen to the post in January.

While Nelson has maintained his opposition, Specter told a Pennsylvania audience earlier this month that he would support her nomination.

Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee recently demanded that Johnsen reappear before the panel for a fresh set of confirmation hearings. The Judiciary Committee approved the nomination last March on a mostly party line 11-7 vote.

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