And the answer is...an absolute badass. Seriously, if I were a Bushie on the wrong side of the torture policies, Ms. Johnsen would scare the everlovin' crap out of me. Which is no doubt the reason the capital Rs have their collective hair on fire about her nomination to head the Office of Legal Counsel. Yes, that OLC. As in OLC memos. As in John Yoo. At the Indiana University Law School she is the...wait for it...Ira C. BATMAN Fellow. Probably not the Gotham Batman, but still awesome.
When I wrote about His Hopefully-Soon-To-Be-Impeached Honor Judge Jay Bybee last week, I made hysterical noises at the thought that he was a former professor of Constitutional Law. Johnsen also teaches Constitutional Law. Whose students would you rather hire? The guy who thinks that the Constitution was merely a suggestion written by our founding fathers, or the woman who acts as if it's carved in marble?
In an article from this past January, Mother Jones makes reference to a couple of samples of Johnsen's work: An article titled, "Faithfully Executing the Laws: Internal Legal Constraints on Executive Power," and a paper, "What's a President to Do? Interpreting the Constitution in the Wake of the Bush Administration's Abuses." Mother Jones includes a couple of quotes from the articles that made me damn near gleeful. And I am not a gleeful sort of person.
Since she also has previous experience in the OLC, her confirmation should be a no-brainer, right? Except the Rs are the "Party of No," giving no-brainer a slightly different resonance. At this point, I would show up in front of the Capitol waving a "No Vice, Confirm Dawn Johnsen" sign if it would help.
Well I was there and I saw what you did
I saw it with my own two eyes
So you can wipe off that grin, I know where you've been
It's all been a pack of lies
"In the Air Tonight" by Phil Collins
Can't you just see Dawn Johnsen, the Miami Vice theme thumping, whipping off her shades and saying, "Busted, asshole."
She looks a little like that Don Johnson, don't you think?