The Right has been working overtime to attack President Obama’s nominees to the Department of Justice. But the grandstanding and name calling that have characterized the Right’s attacks on Elena Kagan, Tom Perrelli, David Ogden, and Eric Holder might only be skirmishes compared to the campaign they’re gearing up to wage against the President’s nominee to head the Office of Legal Counsel, Dawn Johnsen.
Today the National Review weighs in with its typical sobriety.
In Dawn Johnsen’s dizzying jurisprudence, government has no business invading individual privacy and regulating abortion but is obliged to coerce taxpayers into underwriting abortions as a first step in what she unapologetically calls “the progressive agenda” of “universal health care, public funding for childcare, paid family leave, and . . . the full range of economic justice issues, from the minimum wage to taxation policy to financial support for struggling families.”
If Johnsen is confirmed, OLC will be transformed from a source of non-ideological legal analysis to a culture-war agitator. And its value to the Department of Justice may be lost.
Most of the article is a tirade against Johnsen’s pro-choice credentials, but be sure not to miss the hilarious interlude describing her “smearing of John Yoo, the Cal-Berkeley law professor who, as a Bush OLC staffer, principally authored DOJ’s so-called torture memo.”
In contrast to Johnsen’s perversion of anti-slavery law to suit her abortion agenda, Yoo was not twisting the law to advocate torture. He was soberly attempting to construe a legal term, “severe . . . pain or suffering,” part of the statutory definition of torture that had not yet been interpreted by the courts. This is what OLC does: It struggles to understand the state of the law, irrespective of staffers’ predilections, so that policymakers can act in full awareness of their options.
Who says that conservatives don’t have a sense of humor?
Seriously though, as much as we’d love to smear John Yoo’s reputation, he’s already done more to shame himself than we (or Dawn Johnsen) could ever hope to do.