The Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) assists the Attorney General of the United States in his role as legal adviser to the President and all the executive branch agencies. It is sometimes called "the President's law firm." President Obama's nominee for head of OLC is Dawn Johnsen, who served as Acting Assistant Attorney General heading the OLC during the Clinton administration and was, from 1988-1993, the Legal Director of the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (now NARAL Pro-Choice America).
Needless to say, Johnsen is an ardent supporter of what she calls "reproductive liberty," which is, I'm sure, very similar to what then-Sen. Obama called "reproductive justice," that is, a woman's right to choose abortion. To get a sense of her ardor for abortion, read this January 25, 2006, piece for Slate, in which she laments the closing of abortion mills and restrictions on abortions made by many states:
Abortion restrictions often sound superficially reasonable and appealing: They include such benign-sounding requirements as waiting periods, "informed consent," special physical specifications for buildings in which abortions are performed, and special hospital admitting privileges for the physicians who perform them. They are designed to sound reasonable while also limiting the number of abortions performed, ultimately as completely as would a criminal ban.
This passionate paragraph is especially striking:
In a March 22, 2008, post, she wrote:
The link within that post is to a January 2008 address by Johnsen, "A Progressive Agenda for Women’s Reproductive Health and Liberty on Roe v. Wade’s Thirty-Fifth Anniversary," given to the The American Constitution Society. She began the address by stating that today "the state of women’s reproductive liberty is at best mixed" and then lamented how "'abstinence only' programs have replaced comprehensive sexuality education." And then:
She also outlined some goals and strategies for pro-abortion advocates (note her use of the phrase "deep ideological commitments"):
The progressive agenda should aspire to protect genuine reproductive liberty and reproductive health for all. Toward this ideal, I would suggest three shifts in strategic priorities, to augment ongoing efforts to persuade courts to invalidate abortion restrictions. First, focus more on persuading the public to support meaningful reproductive options through political action, grassroots organizing and public education. Second, focus relatively less on the threat of criminal abortion bans that would be enforceable if the Court were to overrule Roe and more on abortion restrictions already in place or on the immediate horizon, obstacles both legislative and extra-legal that cumulatively deprive growing numbers of women of access to abortion services. Finally, situate abortion within the full range of progressive policies essential to genuine reproductive health and liberty, policies that empower women and men to prevent unintended pregnancies and to bear and raise healthy and wanted children.
Be sure to read the entire address, which is twelve pages long, if only to catch the money quote, at the end, made by this well-known promoter of racial eugenics.
This is a somewhat long (but hopefully helpful) introduction to two pieces by Andrew C. McCarthy, a contributing editor of National Review Online. His March 9, 2009, article for National Review, titled "Lawyer’s Lawyer, Radical’s Radical," is must reading, for it reveals just how radical is the woman who could be the head of the "President's law firm":
Her bizarre equation of pregnancy and slavery was not an off-the-cuff remark. It was her considered position in a 1989 brief filed in the Supreme Court. At the time, she was legal director of NARAL (then the National Abortion Rights Action League, since renamed NARAL Pro-Choice America). The case, Webster v. Reproductive Health Services, involved a Missouri law that did not ban abortion but restricted the use of state funds and resources for abortions. It’s an obvious distinction, but one without a difference — at least according to Johnsen. Any restriction that makes abortion less accessible is, in her view, tantamount to “involuntary servitude” because it “requires a woman to provide continuous physical service to the fetus in order to further the state’s asserted interest [in the life of the unborn].” In effect, a woman “is constantly aware for nine months that her body is not her own: the state has conscripted her body for its own ends.” Such “forced pregnancy,” she contends, violates the Thirteenth Amendment, which prohibits slavery.
McCarthy also wrote a piece, "DOJ Nominee ‘Shocked’ by Her Own Words," posted today on NRO, which reports on Johnsen's Senate confirmation hearing, which took place two days ago:
I think the shock is on the other foot, for two reasons. First, Johnsen did make this jaw-dropping argument to the Supreme Court. And second, in her hearing testimony, she nevertheless flatly denied making a Thirteenth Amendment argument: “This is a brief that I filed arguing that the right to privacy protects, um, the right of women and their families to make these choices and that Roe v. Wade should be upheld, which is in 1989. I made no Thirteenth Amendment argument.”
Read that piece. Consider that then-Senator Obama said, back in January 2008: "I don't know anyone who is pro-abortion." Perhaps he didn't know Johnsen a year ago. Or perhaps he doesn't think she is "pro-abortion." Or perhaps the two of them share a certain proclivity for denial in the face of evidence and facts.