Saperstein: “We take this opportunity to reiterate our support for her nomination and express our sincere hope that she will be quickly confirmed.”
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WASHINGTON, D.C., Jan. 21, 2009 – On the occasion of Dawn Johnsen’s re-nomination to head the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, sent the following letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell:
Dear Senators Reid and McConnell:
On behalf of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose 900 congregations encompass nearly 1.5 million Reform Jews, I write on the occasion of Dawn Johnsen’s re-nomination to head the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) at the Department of Justice. As we noted in our letter of May 5, 2009, we believe Ms. Johnsen’s qualifications make her an exceptionally fit leader for the OLC. We take this opportunity to reiterate our support for her nomination and express our sincere hope that she will be quickly confirmed.
More than a year has passed since Ms. Johnsen was first nominated for this position and yet she has never received a vote on the Senate floor. The obstruction of Ms. Johnsen’s nomination jeopardizes the critical work of the Office of Legal Counsel.
Ms. Johnsen’s willingness to vocally oppose torture and support reproductive freedom should not disqualify her from office. To the contrary, her commitment to individual and human rights are exactly what we should look for in a public servant.
As we outlined in our letter last year, Ms. Johnsen’s credentials are exemplary, including a legal career focused on reproductive rights, service at the Office of Legal Counsel during the Clinton Administration (first as Deputy Assistant Attorney General and then as Acting Assistant Attorney General ) and, most recently, a professorship at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law in Bloomington. Such qualifications will serve Ms. Johnsen, and the nation, well in her position as head of the OLC.
We urge you to use your authority to ensure swift confirmation of Ms. Johnsen to fill this critical post.
Rabbi David Saperstein
Director and Counsel
The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 1,800 Reform rabbis