During a PFAW-sponsored press call yesterday, Douglas Kmiec had the following to say:
Dawn and I are people who come from different points on the policy spectrum. But one of the things that I’ve long admired about her is her independence of mind.
…when she has been performing her job as an advocate, or a lawyer or a a counselor for the United States, in each case she has performed those functions with a level of, as Walter [Delinger] said, care and precision. But, most importantly for the Office of Legal Counsel: objectivity. This is what was missing in the torture memo context. And this is what Dawn Johnsen so eloquently and appropriately challenged.
Dawn Johnsen, more than almost any other academic lawyer in the country, has long been a student of executive power and constitutional structure, and the role of the Office of Legal Counsel. And, by virtue of that, has given through the American Bar Association some very sound guidance for the operations of that office.
I think we would be hard pressed to identify any other comparable appointee for a Justice post who would be as well suited. So I find the objections to Professor Johnsen to be quite incredible.
And, frankly just simply aimed, as so many of these things are aimed, at producing a defeat on a partisan basis rather than an evaluation on a merit basis or consideration.
Kmiec isn’t exactly Mr. Liberal guy. This is a man who served as OLC chief during both the Reagan and George H.W. Bush presidencies, and who teaches at Pepperdine University with a clearly conservative ideological bent in his legal writings.
But Kmiec also knows Dawn Johnsen and her work well, has taken the time to read through her prior OLC writings to get a feel for her "seriousness." Kmiec is standing up to clearly oppose what he calls the "rank politics" behind those objecting to Dawn Johnsen at OLC.
Please call your Senators and tell them to vote FOR cloture and FOR Dawn Johnsen for OLC.
Also, take a moment to call Harry Reid’s office — (202) 224-3542 — and tell him to schedule a vote.
The entire call was an excellent back and forth — not just on Dawn Johnsen, but on rule of law questions about which a lot of lawyers around the country are worried. PFAW, who helped set up the call, has made the entire call available as an mp3. It’s well worth a listen.