Every Friday, we choose an alum who has been making headlines—for better or for worse.
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Dawn Johnsen ’83, ’86JD

Nearly eight months after Barack Obama nominated her to head the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, Indiana University law professor Dawn Johnsen ’83, ’86JD, has gone back to her day job—sort of. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved Johnsen’s appointment in March. But Democratic leaders, apparently fearing a Republican filibuster, have yet to schedule a vote in the full Senate. So Johnsen—who reportedly moved her family to D.C. over the summer—will commute back to Indiana to teach a weekly seminar on “Sexuality, Reproduction and the Law.” That’s a hot topic: conservative objections to Johnsen (whom one critic called “aggressively radical”) have focused largely on her pro-choice views and former job as legal director of the abortion-rights group NARAL. The Office of Legal Counsel, you may remember, was the source of that John Yoo ’92JD torture memo—which Johnsen called “shockingly flawed” and demanding of “outrage.” Just in case the Senate gets around to voting, Johnsen has structured the seminar so that classes end before fall break, with students working on research papers for the rest of the term.

Filed under Law School, milestones, nominated, appointed, alumnae
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