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Reform Movement Disappointed that Johnsen will not Head the OLC

Pelavin: "We hope that the extreme obstructionist tactics that we encountered will not become a pattern for future nominations."

Contact: Sean Thibault or Jessica Weiser
202.387.2800 | news@rac.org

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 12, 2010- In response to the withdrawal of Dawn Johnsen's nomination to head the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel, Mark Pelavin, Associate of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:

Last Friday, Dawn Johnsen, President Obama's nominee to the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel, withdrew her nomination. After pushing for Ms. Johnsen's confirmation for nearly a year, we are deeply disappointed that Ms. Johnsen will not have the opportunity to serve in this critical position. We remain convinced that Ms. Johnsen is supremely qualified to serve and we express deep concern about the extreme obstructionist tactics that delayed, and ultimately blocked, her confirmation.

The opposition to Ms. Johnsen was largely based on her support for reproductive freedom and her opposition to torture. These positions are consonant with those of the Reform Movement and should not disqualify any willing public servant from a position in the Administration. We applaud those, both in the advocacy community and the Senate, who worked tirelessly in efforts to secure Ms. Johnsen's confirmation and hope the obstructionist tactics that we encountered will not become a pattern for future nominations.

The Office of Legal Counsel, which advises the President and Administration on legal issues, has been operating without a leader for over 15 months. We hope that when President Obama nominates a new individual to fill the position, the Senate will respectfully and expediently move the nominee through the confirmation process to allow the Office of Legal Counsel to operate at its full potential.

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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.



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