The Opinion Wiki

by user MisterApologist

So far the Justice Department and Congress have named only a handful of Senior Justice Department officials who are going to be interviewed before their respective committees and Subcommittees. Those names are as follows: Paul McNulty, William Moschella, Michael Elston, William Mercer, David Margolis, and Monica Goodling (who is pleading the 5th). Former employees Michael Battle and Kyle Sampson will also be interviewed. While this is a good start in the investigation one of the key doors for information has been excluded so far: His name is John Nowacki and he is the Principal Deputy Director as well as the Acting Counsel to the Director. I think this chart shows exactly how much sway the Counsel to the Director has over the EOUSA (Executive Office of United States Attorney's) Here is the Link to my earlier post regarding the Justice Department Dump Files containing John Nowacki information. [1] From the Justice Department Website :

The office of Counsel to the Director assists the Director and the U.S. Attorneys in legislative and communication matters, in facilitating cooperation by and between U.S. Attorneys' offices and Departmental components and other agencies. Serves as staff for policy development desired by the Attorney General's Advisory Committee and its subcommittees, as well as other special projects and matters assigned by the Director or the Principal Deputy Directors, EOUSA.

Also from the DOJ :

Executive Office for United States Attorneys The Executive Office for United States Attorneys (EOUSA) was created on April 6, 1953, by AG Order No. 8-53 to provide for close liaison between the Department of Justice (DOJ) in Washington, D.C., and the 93 United States Attorneys located throughout the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, the Marianas Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U. S. Virgin Islands.

See also " Mission and Functions ":

  • general executive assistance and direction,
  • policy development,
  • administrative management direction and oversight,
  • operational support,
  • coordination with other components of the Department and other federal agencies.

Now lets get a little background on John Nowacki before the document dump begins:

Article from John Nowacki August 23, 2001 : Leahy and Judicial Confirmations: Moving One Small Step at a Time

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) wants the American people to know he is working hard to fill the 107 vacancies in the federal judiciary, and Leahy himself has been determined to spread the word at every available opportunity. But when he explains how he’s getting those vacant judgeships filled, he always neglects to include one essential detail: he is moving nominations forward just one . . . small . . .step . . . at a time.

July 27, 2001 Article by John Nowacki: Addressing the "Judicial Vacancy Crisis"

This decrease in the number of nominees per hearing is just part of the Democrats' obstruction strategy. Several weeks ago, Senator Charles Schumer held a Judiciary subcommittee hearing on whether ideology should be considered in the Senate's confirmation process. In another hearing postponed earlier this week, Schumer intended to question whether nominees should bear the burden of proof in confirmations, a departure from the Senate's traditional practice of encouraging Senators who oppose a nominee to actually come up with a valid reason for their opposition. By shifting this burden onto nominees, Democrats apparently hope they can force Bush nominees to guarantee in advance how they will rule on specific issues that may come before them--something that ties in with the earlier attempt to justify using ideological litmus

January 4, 2001 John Nowacki article: Race-baiting and Ronnie White

While liberal groups like People for the American Way and the NAACP may not believe they can defeat the nomination of former Senator John Ashcroft to be Attorney General, they are treating this confirmation as a test run of their strategy for future Bush nominees, judicial nominees in particular. And in their objections to the Ashcroft nomination, the liberals have hauled out that perennial favorite of theirs: race-baiting. John Ashcroft is well-qualified to be the U.S. Attorney General, having served as Missouri's Attorney General, Governor, and as a U.S. Senator from that state. Furthermore, he is a man of integrity who will bring a much-needed housecleaning to Janet Reno's over-politicized Justice Department. He has the respect and goodwill of many of his former colleagues in the Senate, both Democrat and Republican, and with his concession of the Missouri senatorial election to Mel Carnahan's widow--regardless of what one thinks of that concession--he has shown a commitment to putting the public good ahead of his own personal interest. With that kind of record, the left-wing groups don't really have anything to work with. And so they've fallen back on race-baiting, knowing that the media will be happy to repeat charges of racism without looking too closely at the facts.

From a November 5, 2001 Article: Judging Jipping

During the 2000 election, Jipping wanted all judicial confirmations blocked, and a Sept. 27, 2000, commentary even gives 10 reasons why this should happen. One partisan reason is because "the Republican Senate should not let Clinton break Ronald Reagan’s appointment record"; another discounts the vacancy-crisis argument by dismissing the number then as "only 63." If the number of vacancies wasn't an issue then, why make it one now?
In an Oct. 17 press release, John Nowacki, Jipping's fellow traveler on the whole judge thing at the Free Congress Foundation, complains that some Bush judicial nominees have waited as long as "160 days" for action to be taken on their nomination. Nowacki has probably forgotten that some Clinton nominees waited as long as two years for a Republican-controlled Judiciary Committee, and I don't recall either him or Jipping bellyaching about that. Of course, it was OK then to block judicial nominees.
Jipping also complains about "judicial activism," which he would prefer be replaced with his own brand of judicial activism as promoted by the Federalist Society, the group whose philosophies conservatives love. As Simon Lazarus writes in a June 2 Washington Post commentary, the Federalist Society adherents would use the federal courts "to micromanage economic and social regulation, regardless of which party the electorate chooses to control Congress or the White House." Where is that in the Constitution?
Jipping and Nowacki would have you believe that their Center for Law and Democracy, under which their Free Congress activities are grouped, is interested only in cultivating "fair, impartial judges without a political agenda," as a May 9 press release states. But that's only a very thin veneer, best demonstrated by what that press release is about: praising President Bush's initial round of judicial nominees; when was the last time Free Congress praised a Clinton judicial nominee? The agenda of Jipping, Nowacki and the Federalist Society is no less political than that of Democrats and so-called "judicial activists": to get more of their guys on the bench, or at least fewer of the other side. They shouldn't pretend it's not. (This agenda is illustrated even better by the Free Congress companion website
If Jipping and Co. are going to accuse Democrats of playing politics with the judicial selection process, they need to admit that they are doing the exact same thing. Complaining about the hypocrisy of others while hiding your own, as the folks at Free Congress are doing, just makes one look silly.

May 23, 2005 : 'Bashing Judges, Then and Now'

During the Clinton administration, the Free Congress Foundation was quite vocal in the fight by conservatives against his judicial nominees. The leaders of its Center for Law and Democracy, Thomas Jipping and John Nowacki, fired out regular commentaries eagerly reprinted by the ConWeb. But the foundation has been mostly quiet on the subject of late, and Jipping and Nowacki are nowhere to be found, having moved on from the center.
Why? Perhaps because the previous arguments they made would come back to haunt them.
As ConWebWatch has previously noted, they complained when Clinton was president that there wasn't nearly enough obstruction of judicial nominees, then complained that Democrats were not moving fast enough Bush from filling the judicial seats they fought to keep Clinton from filling.
A closer look at Clinton-era commentaries by Jipping and Nowacki shows that some of the arguments they make against Clinton nominees undermine arguments currently being made by conservatives in support of nominees of President Bush that Democrats have blocked. They can't be found on the Free Congress Foundation site anymore, but they are conveniently archived at
Nowacki even attempted a little historical revisionism regarding one particular judge in a May 17, 2001, commentary, he claimed that Clinton's nomination of James Wynn of North Carolina "went nowhere in the last Congress because of his clear record as a judicial activist -- not because he was a Clinton nominee." In fact, all Clinton nominees from North Carolina were blocked by then-Sen. Jesse Helms, the North Carolina Republican, who insisted the court needed no more judges. When Bush became president, however, Helms changed his mind.
Jipping left Free Congress in 2002 to be a senior fellow in legal studies at the conservative group Concerned Women for America, but has left there as well. The most recent published work we could find from Jipping is a July 2003 commentary published at WorldNetDaily bashing, you guessed it, Clinton-appointed judges. Nowacki left Free Congress in late 2003 to become senior counsel in the Justice Department's public affairs office. There weren't enough conservative ideologues in the Department of Justice, apparently.
Today, the Free Congress Foundation's Center for Law and Democracy is dormant. Its page on the Free Congress site hasn't been updated in more than two years, and the center's web site hasn't been updated since January 2004. Yet it contains pertinent facts that also undermine current conservative arguments, such as "The Republican-led Senate left 102 Clinton nominees unconfirmed," which pales in comparison to the mere 10 that Democrats have blocked.
Given the amount of backtracking, parsing and overall insisting that what Jipping and Nowacki said back then does not apply now, dormancy may be the best option.

'November 27, 2000 : ' Evidence? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Evidence!

At, John Nowacki of the Free Congress Foundation attempts a flawed analysis of what he called the court's "arrogant" decision by insisting that the original certification deadline seven days after the election should have been enforced. He doesn't seem to have read the decision, however.
In focusing only on what Nowacki calls "the clear words of the legislature," the statute with that mandatory deadline, he ignores the fact that is a conflicting statute (also legislatively approved) that makes the deadline non-mandatory, as well as conflicting statutes on when the time frame in which candidates may request a machine or manual recount. Resolving statutory conflicts is clearly under the interpret-the-law mandate of a court.