RAC urges Justice Dept. nominee’s confirmation


WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Reform movement is urging the Senate to confirm an Obama Justice Department nominee whose appointment Republicans have threatened to filibuster.

In a letter to all 100 members of the U.S. Senate, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism director Rabbi David Saperstein said Dawn Johnsen, President Obama’s nomination for assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel, is "supremely qualified for this critical post."

"Her appointment will begin the essential process of restoring integrity to the Office of Legal Counsel, specifically, and the Department of Justice as a whole," Saperstein wrote, adding that "Johnsen’s confirmation should not be delayed by an ideological, partisan battle nor should she be blocked from office because of her support for reproductive rights."

Republicans have opposed Johnsen, a former legal director of the National Abortion Rights Action League and Justice Department official in the Clinton administration, because of a footnote in a 20-year-old legal brief she signed that compared forcing a woman to bear a child against her will to slavery as well as her criticism of the Office of Legal Counsel’s memos during the Bush administration endorsing harsh interrogation techniques.

The Religious Action Center letter said "these positions reflect Ms. Johnsen’s commitment to individual rights and fundamental liberties under the law."

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