In what may be a hint of who may be Obama’s next Supreme Court nominee, Dawn Johnsen yesterday withdrew her nomination to be the chief of Obama’s Office of Legal Counsel. From the AP via WaPo:
Dawn Johnsen‘s withdrawal – a setback for the Obama administration – was announced late Friday by the White House on a day the capital’s legal and political elites were absorbed in the news that Justice John Paul Stevens would retire from the Supreme Court.
The Senate Judiciary Committee had recommended Johnsen’s confirmation on party-line votes. But several Republicans objected to her sharp criticisms of terrorist interrogation policies under President George W. Bush, and the full Senate never voted on her nomination.
Is this a setback for the Obama Administration as the report says, or Johnsen’s ceding ground so that Obama may name a similarly strident nominee for the Supreme Court? That is, Obama may only have enough political capital for one big, ideological nomination fight, and it’s far more important for his administration to take a stand on the Court rather than the OLC.