This is a real bummer of a day for those of us who really, really wanted to see Dawn Johnsen's nomination confirmed. It's even more of a bummer to realize it was probably Ben Nelson who scuttled it months ago, before Scott Brown was elected and after Al Franken was sworn in. From the Huffington Post:
But the votes, apparently, weren't there. Johnsen had the support of Sen Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) but was regarded skeptically by Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) -- primarily for her positions on torture and the investigation of previous administration actions. A filibuster, in the end, was likely sustainable. Faced with this calculus, the White House chose not to appoint Johnsen during Senate recess, which would have circumvented a likely filibuster but would have kept her in the position for less than two years.
I have my doubts about Lugar, to be honest. The Republicans are too dogged in their determination to undermine this administration at every turn to let any of their ranks fall away. And Nelson once again demonstrates his undying loyalty to Republican principles with his "skepticism".
Dawn Johnsen is hardly a six-headed monster. She's a highly regarded lawyer with experience in the OLC's office. She has expertise in the legal questions surrounding executive power and yes, she's known for her views on abortion.
Frankly, I'm getting pretty sick and tired of the Republicans and Ben Nelson using abortion as an excuse for every obstructionist tactic they can throw against a wall. This Congress has done more to undermine women's reproductive rights on spin alone than any other I can recall in recent history.
It would be good for Democrats in particular to remember they ran on a platform that honored a woman's right to choose and make her own reproductive decisions. It's truly time to quit making us the sacrificial lamb for political pokey points.