One of President Obama’s long-stalled progressive nominees is Dawn Johnsen to head the Office of Legal Counsel. Since the Senate failed to confirm her last year, the White House has said that it plans to renominate her. Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) has also said that he now backs her confirmation, giving her the support of 60 votes. However, Roll Call is reporting that Republicans are trying to further stall her confirmation, “arguing that the failed Christmas Day bombing and other events require the panel to hold fresh hearings”:
“In recent weeks there have been several incidents threatening our national security and underscoring the need for more aggressive counterterrorism efforts, information sharing, and military and intelligence initiatives,” all seven of the GOP Judiciary members write, arguing that, “We believe many unanswered questions remain about Dawn Johnsen’s suitability to guide our Nation’s legal response to the war on terror. … Ms. Johnsen’s record calls into question her dedication to aggressive Executive action in national security matters.”
“For the Committee to properly discharge its advice and consent duty, we believe a second hearing is necessary to evaluate Ms. Johnsen’s nomination and approach to the serious national security questions currently facing this administration,” they added.
Republicans are also blocking Erroll Southers, who has a distinguished record on homeland security, from becoming head of the Transportation Security Administration.