this is house judiciary chairman james sensenbrenner (r-wis).
despite the burly, manly demeanor of his photo, he's actually a dainty, fussy, mama's boy, prone to taking his microphone and going home. hard to believe, isn't it?
After repeated criticism of the Bush administration, the Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee yesterday gaveled a hearing to a close and walked out while Democrats continued to testify -- but with their microphones shut off.big jimmy, it seems, won't hear any criticism of the bush administration, nor brook any questioning of the "patriot act", no matter how relevant it may be. in this case, a hearing on the renewal of that act provided the relevance.
C-SPAN2 continued televising the proceedings for six minutes after Sensenbrenner had departed, with lettering on the screen explaining the strange circumstances.
during the hearing, several republicans testified to the brilliance and necessity of curtailing the civil rights of americans. but when democrats attempted to provide couterpoint, sensenbrenner had a meltdown...
He urged witnesses to "wrap it up" and repeatedly told committee members that their time for questioning had expired.as noted by rep. debbie wasserman schultz (d-fla), the minority was allowed to call zero outside witnesses during the hearing.
"We ought to stick to the subject," the chairman scolded at the end. "The Patriot Act has nothing to do with Guantanamo Bay. The Patriot Act has nothing to do with enemy combatants. The Patriot Act has nothing to do with indefinite detentions."
"Will the gentleman yield?" Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tex.) asked.
"No, I will not yield," replied Sensenbrenner, 61, the heir to a paper fortune who is known for a brusque insistence on decorum. He completed his reproof of the witnesses and left the Rayburn House Office Building hearing room amid a cacophony of protests from Democrats seeking to be recognized.
decorum, it appears, is reserved for republicans in our government.