Saturday, June 11, 2005

We Don't Need No Stinkin' (Parliamentary) Rules

So if you are the Republican chairman of a House Judiciary Committee hearing on the renewal of the Patriot Act and you don't like what the witnesses are saying, what are you to do? If you are Chairman James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) you ignore all parliamentary rules, all objections, even the remaining witnesses, and gavel the proceedings to a close! From The Hill:
Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), one of the Democrats who kept the hearing going after Sensenbrenner left, said, "At the end, I wanted to make a statement. I sought recognition, but the chairman declared the hearing adjourned. I said, 'point of order,' and he just got up and walked out." Proper parliamentary practice in the House generally requires that committee chairman adjourn on motion or without objection, neither of which was the case this morning. "Despite the fact that [Sensenbrenner had left], I went ahead and made the statement, at which point, someone turned off my mike and I had to comment loudly," he said. The hearing was one of a dozen the Judiciary committee has held on the reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act, but it was the only one to feature solely witnesses put forth by the panel's Democrats.

Don't like what those witnesses or Democrats are saying? Well, just break the rules, pick up your marbles, and leave. Can you say "abuse of power" Mr. Sensenbrenner (R-WI).