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Judiciary Republicans Want New Hearings on Controversial Legal Counsel Nominee

Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee called on Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) to hold new hearings on Dawn Johnsen to become the new assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel, arguing that the failed Christmas Day bombing and other events require the panel to hold fresh hearings on her nomination.

President Barack Obama first nominated Johnsen last year, but her confirmation stalled over objections from Republicans and a few moderate Democrats who have taken issue with her previous stances on abortion and Bush administration torture policies. Obama renominated Johnsen earlier this month.

“In recent weeks there have been several incidents threatening our national security and underscoring the need for more aggressive counterterrorism efforts, information sharing, and military and intelligence initiatives,” all seven of the GOP Judiciary members write, arguing that, “We believe many unanswered questions remain about Dawn Johnsen’s suitability to guide our Nation’s legal response to the war on terror. ... Ms. Johnsen’s record calls into question her dedication to aggressive Executive action in national security matters.”

“For the Committee to properly discharge its advice and consent duty, we believe a second hearing is necessary to evaluate Ms. Johnsen’s nomination and approach to the serious national security questions currently facing this administration,” they added.

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