The Senate Judiciary Committee today again did not act on President Obama’s pick to lead the Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel, according to a panel spokesperson. She was held over from the committee’s meeting last week.
The committee lost its quorum — and its ability to conduct business — before it could vote today on OLC nominee Dawn Johnsen, committee spokesperson Erica Chabot said. The panel will likely consider her nomination again on Feb. 25. The Senate will not be in session next week for the Presidents’ Day holiday.
Johnsen has been on the panel’s agenda since Jan. 28. Her nomination was held over once at the request of panel Republicans. She was held over for a second time at the committee’s meeting last week because the panel lost its quorum. Panel Republicans have voiced concerns about Johnsen’s vocal opposition to the Bush administration’s national security policies and her past work for an abortion rights group.
Obama said earlier this week that he might make appointments during next week’s Senate recess for nominees who are being held up by Senate Republicans. Panel chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) told Politico today that he hasn’t talked to the administration about appointing Johnsen without Senate confirmation. But the Democratic senator said Johnsen “should probably be one they would” appoint during the recess.
Though the committee didn’t consider the OLC nominee, it approved DOJ Bureau of Justice Statistics nominee James P. Lynch today by voice vote, according to Chabot. Lynch was held over from last week’s meeting at the request of panel Republicans. Committee members can ask to postpone a vote on a nomination for one week.
This report has been updated from an earlier version.