December 1, 2005



Decency and Rep. James Sensenbrenner

Saturday June 11th 2005, 12:18 pm
Filed under: FCC, Free Speech, Government, Libraries


James Sensenbrenner wearing a suit and tie chairing a Congressional committee

Throw people in jail for saying things that are indecent.

That is the desire of Rep. James Sensebrenner (R-WI), as Greg Beato of Wonkette described in April:

James “Stop Makin’” Sensenbrenner (R - Wis) wants to criminalize FCC indecency violations.

[…]

Here are Sensenbrenner’s exact words: “Aim the cannon specifically at the people committing the offenses, rather than the blunderbuss approach that gets the good actors. The people who are trying to do the right thing end up being penalized the same way as the people who are doing the wrong thing.”

[…]

Is there something in that statement that explains how changing the penalty also changes the crime?

While James Sensenbrenner is eager to lock up other people for offensiveness, yesterday he was offensive in his own way.

During a House Judiciary Meeting on Friday, chairman Sensenbrenner gavelled the meeting to a close, in violation of House rules.

As Greg Beato wrote yesterday about James Sensenbrenner:

At this morning’s Judiciary Committee Hearing on the Patriot Act, he was treating colleagues and witnesses like they were small-claims doofuses arguing over some $50 deal gone awry — no one could get a word in edgewise. Alas, what makes for good TV doesn’t always make for good democracy.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz says Sensenbrenner violated the Rules of the House when he ended the meeting abruptly and unilaterally.

Video of James Sensenbrenner adjourning unilaterally is here.

A statment by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) is here.

Sensenbrenner Broke House Rules

The House rules:

To Adjourn

It is privileged and not debatable.

A chairman cannot unilaterally adjourn. A majority vote of the Members is needed.

Librarians and the Patriot Act

Regarding James Sensenbrenner’s demand at the end of the meeting for Amnesty International to turn over the names of librarians who have received orders for records under the Patriot Act:

They can’t turn over the names, because the Patriot Act makes it illegal for such librarians to speak out.

Sensenbrenner knows that, or he should know that.



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