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What Are the Priorities for the U.S. Justice Department?

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

With yet another radical, life-long committed abortion advocate tapped to a high-ranking position at the United State Department of Justice (DOJ), one has to wonder what the Obama Administration’s priorities are when it comes to law enforcement. If this administration were to commission the painting of the President’s portrait, you’d assume they would call on an exceptional artist with a proven record in this area, someone whose work is distinguished in portraits and fine art. They wouldn’t call on a life-long house painter.

Looking at many of President Obama’s nominations, you would think he was staffing Planned Parenthood’s legal staff instead of the DOJ.

Dawn Johnsen, nominated to be the next Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel, is the latest of such nominees. She has dedicated her life to the promotion of abortion without any restrictions. Johnsen, former staff attorney for the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project in New York and former legal director at NARAL Pro-Choice America, even opposes the partial-birth abortion ban, which prevented the gruesome procedure by which a doctor would crush the skull of a baby whose head was just inches from being out of the mother’s womb.

Johnsen is not just “pro-choice.” Plenty of pro-choice people are against the horrible partial-birth abortion procedure. For Johnsen abortion seems to be above all laws, including the Constitution. That seemed clear when in a Supreme Court brief she was willing to manipulate the Thirteenth Amendment, directed towards slavery, to promote a woman’s right to terminate the life of her unborn baby.

She has also adopted a radical view of rights for the unborn saying, “[F]etal rights laws would not only infringe on constitutionally protected liberty and privacy rights of individual women, they would also serve to disadvantage women as women…” Her view is amazingly radical, because while some people believe this way because they argue the fetus is not a child, Johnsen seems to recognize that the fetus is a person, but apparently believes he or she doesn’t have any rights until the mother decides the baby should have them. Here was her written answer to a question submitted by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma):

Sen. Coburn: Is there any circumstance in which you believe that law should recognize an unborn child as an individual, separate from the mother?

Johnsen: I have written a few pieces about how law and policy treat the fetus in cases where the woman has chosen to bear a child. In such cases I have encouraged approaches that do not create an adversarial relationship, but instead … seek to support women in acting responsibly and bearing healthy children. There are situations where the law could and should recognize the fetus, in ways that would not be create [sic] an adversarial relationship but actually support healthy childbearing.

This view is important because as Justice Blackmun acknowledged in Roe v. Wade, “[i]f this suggestion of personhood is established, [Roe’s] case, of course, collapses, for the fetus’ right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the [Fourteenth] Amendment,” (emphasis added).

But according to Johnsen, the fetus magically becomes a person when the mother wants to have the baby. Essentially you could have two women, both six months pregnant, one carrying a “fetus person” protected by the Constitution because she wants to have the child, and the other one carrying a “fetus blob of tissue” with no rights whatsoever because she doesn’t want to have that baby.

What is Johnsen being nominated for again?

Obama has been working overtime to make good on the promise he made to Planned Parenthood during his campaign, saying, “There will always be people, many of good will, who do not share my view on the issue of choice. On this fundamental issue, I will not yield and Planned Parenthood will not yield.” You got that right.

So if the promotion of abortion at all costs is the end game here, then perhaps Obama should just commission Planned Parenthood to function as the Justice Department. At least it would save the taxpayers some money. Oh wait, Planned Parenthood already get millions of taxpayer dollars. Well then, perhaps attorneys could wear uniforms like NASCAR drivers: “DOJ brought to you by NARAL Pro-Choice America.” It would make much more sense than what Obama is currently doing.

Now, I know many of Dawn Johnsen’s supporters are quick to point out that she already served at the Department of Justice under former President Bill Clinton. And I’m glad they bring that up, because she should probably be asked about VAAPCOM.

What is VAAPCOM, you ask? Well, it was the “Violence Against Abortion Providers Conspiracy” investigation that was discovered by Judicial Watch, a watchdog organization, after a Freedom of Information Act request. The documents revealed that the Justice Department under Janet Reno started an investigation in 1994 — while Johnsen was a deputy assistant attorney general — where they pressured the FBI to investigate pro-life organizations and its supporters.

Apparently they sought to prove there was a national conspiracy of pro-life “extremists” who were attacking abortion clinics. After months of monitoring several organizations, including Concerned Women for America (CWA), the Christian Coalition and the National Right to Life Committee, among others, the FBI failed to come up with anything. And though the FBI wanted to end the investigation, the DOJ pressured them to continue.

Someone should ask Johnsen, and any other candidate involved with the Clinton DOJ at the time, if they have any knowledge of such investigations. Is this the type of “work” we can expect to see again from the DOJ? Looking at resumes like Dawn Johnsen’s, it wouldn’t surprise me.

You don’t hire professional hunters unless you want to catch a prey.

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