Christy Hardin SmithCommunity

OLC: Make That A Stick, Harry…

Well, this is complete and utter bullshit:

[Reid] suggested on Tuesday that he does not have the votes to bring up President Barack Obama’s pick to run the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel.

“Right now we’re finding out when to do that,” Reid said, responding to a question about the status of Indiana University law professor Dawn Johnsen’s nomination to the Justice post. “We need a couple Republican votes until we can get to 60.”

I’ve been told by several sources that Nelson intended to vote no on the floor vote, but yes for cloture. So unless that’s changed — and I’d like to know why, and what Reid has actually tried to do about it — that wouldn’t have been an issue. I’ve also heard that Specter was considering doing the same.

Again, what has Democratic leadership been doing to shore that up?

You think Rove and company just sat back and hoped for the best on votes?  Hell no.  So where’s the leadership, Harry?

We’ve been pushing on Johnsen for weeks. She is a superb nominee. Her legal acumen is amazing, and her integrity in terms of ethical and rule of law standards at OLC is just what is needed for that office.

What’s the sticking point? There has been no concomitant push from Democratic leadership for her. None.

Worse, the White House has been nonexistent in plugging for a position that should have been at the top of their "to do" list given the problems that DOJ was already having trying to restore departments to their non-politicized norms.  I have been trying to twist arms behind the scenes, but no more.  I have had it.

Whitehouse and Leahy have been the only two Senators on Judiciary or elsewhere doing any push whatsoever. Her home state Senator Evan Bayh?  Nonexistent.

Just last week, AG Holder said that confirming Dawn was his top priority in an appropriations subcommittee hearing. He was the first person from the WH team to say anything about her out loud since her nomination in terms of public hearings or reporting.

This is a failure of leadership.  Period.

From Harry Reid, from Dick Durbin, from Chuck Schumer…none of whom have done their jobs on arm twisting and have just allowed this to be a "well, if the White House wants her, they can do the work" game of chicken. And the White House? Nary a peep beyond that recent push from Holder. You think President Obama couldn’t pick up a phone and twist a few arms along with his buddy Joe Biden? Yet that has not happened from everything I have heard.

Do I sound pissed? Why yes, I do. The rule of law actually means something beyond a convenient campaign slogan to me. And the nation’s system of justice deserves better than benign neglect.

What’s worse?  I smell a capitulation deal on the other lingering nominations.  I’ve got some calls out to ascertain whether this was a "you vote for these nominees and we’ll leave Dawn Johnsen off the table until after the recess" quid pro quo between Reid and McConnell. Because I smell kabuki.

PFAW, NARAL, AFJ and NWLC have all pushed for Johnsen. Good for them. So have a handful of bloggers. Good for them, too.

But where is everyone else? This is the legal run-up to the SCOTUS nomination. The right-wing is using this as their test messaging case on abortion and national security boogah boogah scare tactics. If we ignore it or, worse, don’t give a crap, do any of us think this simply goes away? Or does it get worse?

We have learned nothing the last eight years if we think that passive neglect in the face of crappy tactics is a winning strategy. And yet? Here we are.

Well I, for one, have had it. Senate Democratic Leadership and the Obama White House need to do their jobs and fight for a nominee the nation needs. Now.  You know what to do.

Harry Reid: (202) 224-3542 (phone);   202-224-7327 (FAX)

Dick Durbin: (202) 224-2152 (phone);   (202) 228-0400 (FAX)

Chuck Schumer: (202) 224-6542 (phone);   (202) 228-3027 (FAX)

Pat Leahy: (202) 224-4242 (phone);   (202) 224-3479 (FAX)

Evan Bayh: (202) 224-5623 (phone);   (202) 228-1377 (FAX)

Senate numbers.

(H/T to Glenn for the heads up.)

Previous post

Western Aid Agencies Lavish Exorbitant Contributions for Afghanistan Infrastructure on ... Themselves

Next post

Early Morning Swim: Special Sheldon Whitehouse on Torture Edition

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com