A 12-7 vote by the Senate Judiciary Committee today means Dawn Johnsen’s nomination for head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel will once again appear on the Senate floor.
NYTimes’ Caucus Blog: Ms. Johnsen was nominated last year to head the O.L.C., which offers legal guidance to the president and other executive branch officials.
But her nomination was not well-received by Republicans, and though she cleared the Judiciary panel, she didn’t receive a floor vote in the Senate because Democrats did not have enough votes to bring up her nomination. And they still may not be able to muster them this time around, given still-existing opposition to her selection.
President re-nominated her but it’s not clear that she’ll have better luck this time passing the Senate’s muster. She has a track record that Republicans find unfavorable and the Senate has a history of striking down nominees to the office.
The Blog of Legal Times: Republicans are likely to block her nomination on the Senate floor, as they did last year, because of her views on national security and abortion, and it’s not clear that Democrats have the 60 votes they would need to force a confirmation vote. The Office of Legal Counsel has not had a Senate-confirmed leader since July 2004, in part because Democrats blocked Bush nominee Steven Bradbury for four years.
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