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IU Law Professor Dawn Johnsen Named To Biden Transition Team

A headshot of IU law professor and wife of Mayor John Hamilton Dawn Johnsen.

IU law professor and wife of Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton Dawn Johnsen. (Courtesy of Indiana University)

Indiana University Maurer School of Law Professor Dawn Johnsen has been named to one of President-elect Joe Biden’s agency review teams as part of his transition to the White House.

Johnsen will serve on the Department of Justice team.

According to a document prepared by the Biden-Harris Transition, members of the agency review teams are responsible for understanding the operations of the agency they are reviewing to ensure a smooth transfer of power and to allow President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris to be ready to govern when they take office.

The document states the Presidential Transition Act “requires presidential transitions to disclose the ‘most recent employment’ and ‘sources of funding’ for all review team members. Johnsen’s IU employment is listed; source of funding is listed as “volunteer.”

The Department of Justice team includes 29 members and is led by Christopher Schroeder from Duke University. As part of their review, the team will also be responsible for reviewing the Federal Election Commission, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, the Commission on Civil Rights, the National Council on Disability, the U.S. Access Board, AbilityOne, the State Justice Institute and the Legal Services Organization.

Before joining IU in 1998, Johnsen served in the Department of Justice in the Administration of President Clinton. She was on the transition teams for both President Clinton and President Barack Obama, who nominated her to lead the Office of Legal Counsel as assistant attorney general.

The Senate Judiciary committee approved her nomination 11-7, but the U.S. Senate failed to act and after nearly two years in limbo, she withdrew her nomination.

Johnsen and all others picked as part of the transition team have been told not to talk to the media during the process. She said all media inquiries must go through the transition’s press office.

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