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Dawn Johnsen
IU School of Law

Debbie O'Leary
IU School of Law

Last modified: Monday, September 17, 2007

Indiana law professor available to comment on Mukasey appointment


EDITORS: Indiana University School of Law Professor Dawn Johnsen is available to discuss President George W. Bush's recent nomination of former federal judge Michael Mukasey to replace Alberto Gonzales as attorney general.

Dawn Johnsen

Dawn Johnsen

"After unsuccessfully floating several names of controversial insiders, the president has settled on someone who might have the potential to address the crisis in the government. The Senate now needs to determine whether Mukasey has what it takes to restore the Department of Justice's reputation and credibility and the morale of the career attorneys who are the heart and soul of the Department. The next attorney general must work to transform the government's legal culture -- to demand respect for the rule of law, to eliminate excessive secrecy and to recognize Congress's constitutional authorities. To be effective, though, the needed dramatic change of attitude ultimately must come from the top -- from President Bush himself."

Johnsen served in the Office of Legal Counsel in the Department of Justice (1993-98), including a period as head of that office (the acting assistant attorney general, from 1997-98), where she advised the president, the attorney general and the general counsels throughout the executive branch on questions of law. Her research includes separation of powers and presidential power. She teaches Constitutional law, the First Amendment, and seminars on Congress, the President and the Courts and sexuality, reproduction and the Constitution.

Johnsen can be reached at 812-856-4984 or