Judge Norma Holloway Johnson’s Memorandum Opinion in Legal Services Corporation v. Dana, et al.

Michael Harless Special Category, U. S. District Court, District of Columbia

On December 31, 1981, President Reagan used his recess appointment power to appoint Bill Olson as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Legal Services Corporation, as well as appointing a full slate of new directors. Shortly thereafter, Bill and the other Reagan appointees were sued by the Carter-appointed members of the Board of Directors. (The Complaint appears here.)

Among the plaintiffs in the case was former LSC Chairman Hillary Rodham (the name she then used), First Lady of Arkansas at the time. Ms. Rodham and her board asked the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to issue a temporary restraining order to enjoin Bill and the new board from acting as directors. As part of the defense of the case, Bill filed this Declaration in District Court.

The case was assigned to a Judge recently appointed by President Carter in February 1980 — Judge Norma Holloway Johnson. However, Judge Johnson had no problem seeing through the Rodham theory, and denied the TRO. Judge Johnson explained her decision in her memorandum opinion in Legal Services Corporation v. Howard H. Dana, Jr., et al. 1982 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18320 (March 3, 1982). (Judge Johnson had a distinguished career, later serving as Chief Judge of that court, sentenced Congressman Dan Rostenkowski to prison for mail fraud, and presided over the grand jury investigation of President Bill Clinton.)

Link to memorandum opinion