It looks as if the Senate will finally confirm Duke Law School professor Christopher Schroeder to head the Office of Legal Policy in the Department of Justice. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved his nomination for the second time yesterday with substantial Republican support. The Committee vote was 16-3, and both Senators Sessions and Hatch voiced their support for his confirmation.
Schroeder’s confirmation will be good news for the Obama Administration. He is a tremendously intelligent and accomplished scholar who also has significant executive branch experience. His confirmation should also help with the vetting of potential judicial nominees, a task traditionally delegated to OLP within the Justice Department, and may help the Administration pick up the pace of judicial nominations.
The news does not appear as good for two other Justice Department nominees. The committee approved Mary Smith’s nomination to head the tax division by a party line vote and consideration of Dawn Johnsen for the Office of Legal Counsel was postponed. Johnsen’s confirmation could continue to face particular difficulty, in part because she does not have universal support within the Democratic caucus. At least one Democratic Senator, Ben Nelson, has said he opposes her for the job. I previously blogged on the Johnsen nomination here.