Calls for Condemnation and an Additional Day of Hearings
ALSO: Dems Scramble to Find Room for 'Downing Street' Hearings After Being Denied Space by Republicans!
By Brad Friedman on 6/14/2005, 12:20pm PT  

Updating our coverage of last Friday's shameful performance by the U.S. House Judiciary Chairman, Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), when he cut witness testimony short in the additional day of hearings on the Patriot Act as requested, under House Rule 11, by the Democrats on the Judiciary Committee.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) is introducing a resolution to rebuke the Chariman for his outrageous behavior.

Included in Nadler's resolution, is condemnation of Sensenbrenner's gaveling of the hearings to an early close without hearing unanimous consent, debate or even a second; his refusal to allow witnesses to respond to questions; cutting questioning by minority Congressmen short; unprecedented convening of the hearings when Congress was not in session and other actions less-than-honorable for a United States Congressman.

RAW STORY has the text of the full resolution. Here's the first few grafs of their story...

Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) has introduced a privileged resolution in the House which seeks to rebuke House Judiciary Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) for abusing his power at a Patriot Act hearing last week, RAW STORY has learned.

The resolution declares Sensenbrenner "willfully trampled the right of the minority to hold an additional day of hearings," and "willfully and intentionally violated the Rules of the House by abusing and exceeding his powers as chairman."

It moves to have the House condemn the Wisconsin's [sic] actions and enjoins the chairman to schedule an additional day of hearings on the Patriot Act.

Sensenbrenner's performance was covered in detail by BRAD BLOG last Friday as it unfolded, with exclusive commentary from Democratic staffers who witnessed it.

DemBlogger has the video of the last few minutes of the hearings as Sensenbrenner gaveled it to a close.

In other news of Republican Majorities Gone Wild, a new policy of denying hearing rooms to Democrats has been instituted by the Judiciary Committee Majority.

According to today's The Hill, "majority staff recently announced a new policy to deny any request from a committee Democrat for the use of a committee hearing room."

That new edict, instituted in time to attempt to shut down the minority's planned Thursday hearing on the Downing Street Minutes/Memo has forced the Democrats to scramble to find a location for the event.

The Hill also confirms the text of the email we reported last Friday from Sensenbrenner's deputy chief of staff, Sean McClaughlin, to a minority staffer while viewing Ranking Minority Member, Rep. John Conyers' (D-MI) "Media Bias" forum held several weeks ago.

“I'm sitting here watching your ‘forum' on C-SPAN,” McLaughlin wrote. “Just to let you know, it was your last. Don't bother asking [for a room] again.”

The BRAD BLOG has learned that the Dems will hold the hearings, despite the attempt by the majority to shut them down, at the DNC offices on 1:00 p.m. in the Wasserman Room at 430 S Capitol St. SE, Washington, D.C.

The hearings were announced after Conyers received more than 500,000 citizen signatures on a letter signed by at least 94 U.S. House of Representative members. Additionally, The BRAD BLOG has learned that still more House members are said to be signing on to that letter this week.

Later on Thursday at 5:00 p.m. ET in Lafayette Square Park, in front of the White House, a large rally has been called by supporters of Conyers who plans to deliver hist letter to George W. Bush, asking him to respond to the questions raised by the original Downing Street Minutes document.

Additionally, as reported by AfterDowningStreet.org, a coalition of grassroots citizen organizations (both BRAD BLOG and Velvet Revolution, an organization we helped to co-foun, are members of that coalition) local rallies are being planned around the country in support on that same day.