Sunday, January 24, 2010

Pregnancy is Slavery Says Obama Nominee

President Obama has doubled-down on nomination of NARAL abortion advocate, Indiana University law professor Dawn Johnsen, to head the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel.

UPDATE 4/9/10: Johnsen withdraws (she was even too liberal for the Dems)

-- From "Obama Submits Renomination of Dawn Johnsen" posted at Ms. Magazine 1/22/10

Johnsen was first formally nominated in February 2009. Johnsen’s nomination has been held up for nearly a year because of Republican opposition in Congress.

Johnson is currently a professor of law at Indiana University and has been working with the Obama/Biden transition team for the Office of Legal Counsel. She will lead the Office of Legal Counsel in her new position if confirmed. She also served in the Clinton White House and was the legal director at NARAL Pro-Choice America for five years.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Specter now says he'll support Dawn Johnsen for Office of Legal Counsel" by Carrie Johnson, Washington Post Staff Writer 1/13/10

Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) announced Tuesday that he would support law professor Dawn Johnsen as the new leader of a critical Justice Department post. The move could potentially break a legislative logjam lasting nearly a year over her nomination.

But the Obama administration and the Senate leadership struggled to find 60 senators willing to support Johnsen. Moderate lawmakers have expressed concern over her legal work for an abortion rights group and her positions on certain national security issues.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Lawyer’s Lawyer, Radical’s Radical" by Andrew McCarthy, posted at National Review Online 3/9/09

Yale-educated and ACLU-trained, Johnsen['s] . . . bizarre equation of pregnancy and slavery was not an off-the-cuff remark. It was her considered position in a 1989 brief filed in the Supreme Court. At the time, she was legal director of NARAL (then the National Abortion Rights Action League, since renamed NARAL Pro-Choice America). The case, Webster v. Reproductive Health Services, involved a Missouri law that did not ban abortion but restricted the use of state funds and resources for abortions. It’s an obvious distinction, but one without a difference — at least according to Johnsen. Any restriction that makes abortion less accessible is, in her view, tantamount to “involuntary servitude” because it “requires a woman to provide continuous physical service to the fetus in order to further the state’s asserted interest [in the life of the unborn].” In effect, a woman “is constantly aware for nine months that her body is not her own: the state has conscripted her body for its own ends.” Such “forced pregnancy,” she contends, violates the Thirteenth Amendment, which prohibits slavery.

The Court rejected this farcical theory, just as it has rejected other instantiations of Johnsen’s extremism. On abortion and other issues dear to the Left, she is nothing short of a zealot. She insisted that, without government-provided abortion counseling, a large number of women would be left without “proper information about contraception.” This, she claimed, would mean they “cannot be said to have a meaningful opportunity to avoid pregnancy.” The usual rejoinder to such reasoning is that nobody is forcing these women to have sex. Johnsen sees it differently, writing that these “losers in the contraceptive lottery no more ‘consent’ to pregnancy than pedestrians ‘consent’ to being struck by drunk drivers.”

Johnsen’s attraction for Obama is obvious. The principal target of her Webster brief was the settled principle that the Constitution’s recognition of various fundamental rights (and the judicial invention of such “rights” as abortion) does not confer an entitlement to governmental aid to exercise those rights. For Johnsen, this is anathema, the denial of “economic justice” and thus of equal protection. “Economic justice,” a favorite Obama phrase, is the Left’s euphemism for the “redistributive change” Obama criticized the radical Warren Court for failing to embrace. Rather than the hoary construction of the Constitution as “a charter of negative liberties,” one that says only what government “can’t do to you,” Obama urges a new bill of rights defining what government “must do on your behalf.”

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.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.