Thursday, October 20, 2011

Webb's National Commission on Criminal Justice defeated in Senate vote

In debate on amendment No. 750 in the U.S. Senate today, Oct. 20, 2011, U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) said “This is the most massive encroachment on states' rights I have ever seen in this body.

Holy Cow! Outrageous! What was this?

Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) sponsored a bill to create a 14-member commission to study America's criminal justice system -- a study. He offered the bill as an amendment to the Appropriations bill for the U.S. Department of Justice. The price tag for the commission was $5 million, not terribly high.

The "most massive encroachment on states' rights I have ever seen"? One has to wonder whether Senator Hutchison just had cataract surgery or if she has been in a coma since she came to the Senate in June 1993. She's a lawyer and received a law degree from the University of Texas Law School in 1967.

Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK), an obstetrician, called it unconstitutional. “We are absolutely ignoring the Constitution if we do this." “We have no role … to involve ourselves in the criminal court system or the penal system in my state or any other state.”

Yet those leading conservative members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senators Lindsay Graham (R-SC), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), also voted FOR the amendment, as well as Olympia Snow (R-ME) and Scott Brown (R-MA). All the other Republicans voted against it, a total of 43 no votes.

The amendment, in the current climate required 60 votes to pass, it only got 57 yes votes. All the Democratic Senators voted for it, plus the two independents.

This is too bad.

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