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Monday, January 19, 2009

Dawn Johnsen as head of OLC

The liberal blogosphere and the New York Times is delighted with the appointment of Professor Dawn Johnsen as the head of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel.

They quote with approval her attacks on the legal reasoning (weak) to be found in the Torture Memoranda. They expect that she will act on these to investigate wrongdoing in the higher echelons of the administration.

I fear that this will not be the case. In February of last year, the Boston Globe quoted Professor Johnsen as saying "People who rely on [sic] good faith on an Office of Legal Council opinion should not be prosecuted even if it turns out that the opinion was wrong" (AG won't probe CIA on torture laws, Boston Globe, February 8, 2008: A 2).

It seems to me that her position is dangerously close to the Nuremberg Defense that "I was just obeying orders." On the face of it, her statement implies that she will not be taking steps to weed out the "bad apples" that proliferated in the top echelon of the Bush administration.

I do hope that I am wrong.

Sent to New York Times

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