Thursday, September 28, 2017

CONYERS: Michigan Needs A New State Police Director

Washington, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13) issued the following statement after Michigan State Police Director Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue posted an uninformed statement on Facebook concerning National Football League (NFL) protests against racial injustice:

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
“I have been defending the ideal symbolized by the American flag for my entire adult life. Here in the U.S. Congress since 1965; before that as a state official; and before that as an officer in the United States Army serving in the Korean Conflict.  When I went off to war, the country I fought for was far from realized: in Korea I was an officer and a gentleman; at home I was a second-class citizen.  But still I fought, because our country is about so much more than a flag or an anthem.  It is about a great struggle, centuries in the making, to make a more perfect union. 

“Michigan State Police Director Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue is entitled to her wrong-headed, spiteful opinion. However, her comments in regards to NFL players protesting racial injustice by kneeling during the national anthem were completely inappropriate, unbefitting an officer of the state of Michigan, and raise practical concerns about her ability to enforce the laws of our state and country.

“Michigan needs a Michigan State Police Director who understands the very real issue of racial injustice and the blatant disparities that African-Americans face within our criminal justice system and at the hands of some ill-willed law enforcement officers. Instead of bashing the protests, Etue should be looking to address the reason for the protests in the first place, by working with the Michigan police force and the communities they protect and serve to improve relations.  If Etue cannot complete that mission, she should stand down.

“I strongly believe that no one should ever make the mistake that the fight for justice in America is anything less than an act of patriotism.  As a veteran, I served alongside soldiers who fought for this country’s freedom. It is time for us to honor these struggles and commit to working toward a society that so many have sacrificed for.”

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CONYERS Leads Members Of Congress In Filing Amicus Brief Opposing Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Motion To Vacate His Conviction Following Trump's Pardon


Washington, D.C. - Today, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler (D-NY ), Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security Ranking Member Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations Ranking Member Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice Ranking Member Steve Cohen (D-TN), Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law Ranking Member David Cicilline (D-RI), Representative Jackie Speier (D-CA), and other Members of Congress, filed an amicus brief opposing Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s motion to vacate his conviction for criminal contempt of court on the ground that President Donald Trump’s pardon of Sheriff Arpaio was unconstitutional.

In 2011, a Federal court found that Sheriff Arpaio's police department routinely engaged in racial profiling of Latinos.  The court ordered the department to cease its unconstitutional practices immediately, but Sheriff Arpaio and the department flouted the court's order, and continued to direct their staff to deprive thousands of people of their constitutional rights.  This past July, Sheriff Arpaio was held in criminal contempt of court for repeatedly and blatantly ignoring the court’s injunction against him.  Just three weeks later, however, President Trump pardoned his contempt conviction.

The Members released the following statement:

“The President's pardon of Sheriff Arpaio was not just disgraceful, but also represented what we believe to be an unconstitutional violation of the separation of powers.  As our brief argues, it is essential to the independence of the judiciary that courts be able to enforce compliance with their orders through the contempt power, especially those orders that protect the constitutional rights of private parties.  By pardoning Sheriff Arpaio, the President threatened this fundamental judicial power.  Furthermore, if the President’s pardon is allowed to stand, this case could have severe implications for Congress’s ability to compel compliance with its own investigations and orders.

“President Trump’s pardon was not intended to remedy an unduly harsh criminal punishment, or to correct a mistake in the enforcement of the criminal law—the intended purpose of the power—but to usurp the power of the judiciary to vindicate the authority of the courts and to uphold the rule of law.  Despite common misconceptions, the pardon power is not absolute.  As Laurence Tribe, one of the nation’s leading constitutional scholars, explained, ‘when the Constitution says that the president ‘shall have power,’ that does not mean unlimited power.  It means power that is not inconsistent with other parts of the Constitution.’  In this case, the pardon power was used to upset the careful balance of power among the branches of government, and to undermine the rule of law.

“We agree with Professor Tribe and with numerous other scholars and commentators that the President’s pardon of Sheriff Arpaio was unconstitutional and, therefore, ask the court to deny Sheriff Arpaio’s motion to vacate his conviction.”
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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

CONYERS: Following Trump's NFL Rant, Conyers Urges Focus On Real Issue Of Racial Inequality



Conyers Says Congress Must Move on Criminal Justice Reform and Police Accountability Legislation; League Owners Must Protect NFL Players Who Speak Out


Washington D.C. – Today, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) released the following statement in response to President Trump’s continued inflammatory rhetoric urging the National Football League (NFL) to fire players for protesting racial injustice:

“President Donald Trump’s demands that the NFL team owners fire athletes who kneel or otherwise protest during the playing of the national anthem at football games is blatantly inconsistent with our Nation’s most fundamental constitutional and democratic values. The President of the United States, using the power of his bully pulpit and Twitter feed, to rail against private citizens’ political expression can constitute a violation of the First Amendment’s free speech guarantee.

“While it is important to confront Trump’s divisive words, we should not fall into his rhetorical trap and lose sight of the original purpose of the players’ protest.  The players are calling attention to the fact that there are glaring disparities in how African-Americans are dealt with under our criminal justice system and their treatment by law enforcement officers, which often have deadly consequences. 

“If President Trump and his Administration really cared about racial divisions in our country, they would work with us to pass comprehensive criminal justice reform and meaningful police accountability legislation – both of which have remained bipartisan issues in Congress.  Instead, the Trump Administration and Attorney General Sessions have been undoing the very real progress made by the Obama Administration to address these issues.  Republicans in Congress must stand up to the Trump Administration’s roll backs of critical policing, criminal justice reform and community accountability policies.

“No one should ever make the mistake that the fight for justice in America is anything less than an act of patriotism. As a veteran, I believe the players’ protest is far from ‘un-American.’ To the contrary, their nonviolent protest is in keeping with the traditions and values established by generations of civil rights leaders who have advocated for racial equality. 

“I respect the NFL owners standing up for the players last weekend. However, the true test of their willingness to protect players’ pursuit of justice will be if they ensure that no NFL player loses a job because he has the courage to speak out, as Colin Kaepernick did last year. ”

Background: According to former Yale Law School Dean Robert Post, President Trump threatening or using the powers or imprimatur of his office to coerce a private entity like the NFL to take action against a citizen in retaliation for that citizen’s expression, could constitute a violation of the First Amendment’s free speech guarantee.

In July 2016, House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte and Ranking Member John Conyers announced the establishment of a working group to examine police accountability, aggression towards law enforcement, and public safety concerns related to these issues.

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Monday, September 25, 2017

CONYERS: HR 40: Deconstruction of Institutionalized Racism

 Since its introduction in 1989, H.R. 40, the Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act, has sought to further a national dialogue on the plight of Africans-Americans in the context of slavery, Jim Crow, and other legally sanctioned forms of discrimination.

With a renewed dialogue on the issue of reparations, both on the domestic and international levels, this legislation presents a real opportunity to create an official government-based discussion.

This Braintrust will bring together commentators from a variety of positions to explore strategies for broadening the debate on reparations in an increasingly “post-racial” society


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CONYERS Takes A Knee

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

Image may contain: 10 people, people smiling, indoor


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Saturday, September 23, 2017

CONYERS: Top Democrats Ask Equifax, TransUnion, & Experian: Will Restore Consumers Rights In The Wake Of The Equifax Data Breach?


September 21, 2017 (Washington, DC) – Following the Equifax data breach of 143 million Americans’ personal information, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law Rep. David N. Cicilline (D-RI), and Representatives Don Beyer (D-VA) and Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr. (D-GA), wrote to the three main credit rating agencies—Equifax,TransUnion, and Experian—to hear whether these companies will continue to include forced arbitration clauses in their terms of service or end their campaign against the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s rule to restore consumers’ day in court.

They wrote:

“The economic security of nearly half of all Americans has been jeopardized because Equifax’s failure to safeguard our most sensitive information, which is now in the hands of criminals. Making matters worse, many of those affected by this massive security breach are unsure whether they even have legal recourse because of your company’s use of forced arbitration clauses. Although Equifax has revised its policy in response to public outcry, this limited change is simply not enough given the systemic nature of this problem and the scope of the lives affected. We therefore request information concerning your plans to revise your terms of service and stance on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) arbitration rule to restore consumers’ day in court.”

The CFPB arbitration rule includes important safeguards for consumers against forced arbitration, a practice that routinely allows corporate entities to avoid class-action lawsuits by burying legal language in the fine print of contracts that require consumers to waive their right to court.

A Republican measure to repeal that rule, supported by all three credit rating agencies, passed in the House of Representatives in July on a nearly-straight party-line vote. It is currently pending in the Senate.

The House Democrats denounced the three credit agencies for their opposition to the forced arbitration rule, writing, “Rather than support this commonsense protection, your company and others like it have reportedly campaigned against it, spending millions in campaign contributions and other efforts to undermine both the rule and the CFPB. Now is the time to demonstrate your respect for the rights of your customers, not undermine them.”



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Friday, September 22, 2017

CONYERS: CBC Foundation Judiciary Braintrust: Voting Engaging Activism Beyond The Ballot Box

The continuing attacks on voting rights has evolved new voter suppression strategies that will require novel strategies to protect African-American political interests.

This forum will assemble voices from across the community spectrum to explore issue development and coalition building for greater activism from the local to federal level.


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CONYERS: CBC Foundation Braintrust - Haiti: Empowerment Beyond Our Borders

This issue forum will focus on efforts to support and build the Haitian economy and community with an emphasis on housing, education, and economic development.

This panel will feature experts from the non-governmental organizations, the advocacy community, the U.S. government, and the Government of Haiti.


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CONYERS: CBC Foundation Judiciary Braintrust: Criminal Justice Reform

Making America Accountable for Black Lives Recent events demonstrate that racial profiling remains a divisive issue that strikes at the very foundation of our democracy. 

The issues of race and reasonable suspicion of criminal conduct are so closely linked in law enforcement practices that profiling has an impact on virtually every area of criminal justice policy. 

From the prison pipeline to clemency and over-criminalization, race has a continuing impact on policy development in the criminal justice system. 

This panel features experts from the judiciary, law enforcement, and the advocacy community to provide an overview of the continuing challenges in juvenile justice, drug and sentencing policy reform efforts.


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Thursday, September 21, 2017

CONYERS: CBC Foundation Legislative Conference On Jobs

Jobs, Justice, Peace



Conyers speaks on Martin Luther King, Jr., how Coretta Scott King continued his work in jobs initiatives and how the Federal Reserve needs to create jobs.

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CONYERS: CBC Foundation Legislative Conference On Medicare For All

Because #Obamacare Alone Isn’t Enough.


#MedicareForAll

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

CONYERS: Judiciary Braintrust: Organizing The Resistance - Civil Rights In The Trump Era


Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
I am glad to be the honorary host of the Judiciary Braintrust at this 2017 Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Annual Legislative Conference (ALC).

Please join me on Friday, September 22, 2017 by clicking here.

Criminal Justice Reform: Making America Accountable for Black Lives in Conjunction with NOBLE

Friday, September 22, 2017 from 9:00 AM - 10:45 AM in Room 147B
Recent events demonstrate that racial profiling remains a divisive issue that strikes at the very foundation of our democracy. The issues of race and reasonable suspicion of criminal conduct are so closely linked in law enforcement practices that profiling has an impact on virtually every area of criminal justice policy. From the prison pipeline to clemency and over-criminalization, race has a continuing impact on policy development in the criminal justice system. This panel will feature experts from the judiciary, law enforcement, and the advocacy community to provide an overview of the continuing challenges in juvenile justice, drug and sentencing policy reform efforts.

Voting: Engaging Activism Beyond the Ballot Box (Sponsored by League of Conservation Voters)

Friday, September 22, 2017 from 11:00 AM - 12:45 PM in Room 147B
The continuing attacks on voting rights has evolved new voter suppression strategies that will require novel strategies to protect African-American political interests. This forum will assemble voices from across the community spectrum to explore issue development and coalition building for greater activism from the local to federal level.

Haiti: Empowerment Beyond Our Borders

Friday, September 22, 2017 from 1:00 PM - 2:45 PM in Room 147B
This issue forum will focus on efforts to support and build the Haitian economy and community with an emphasis on housing, education, and economic development. This panel will feature experts from the non-governmental organizations, the advocacy community, the U.S. government, and the Government of Haiti.

HR 40: Deconstruction of Institutionalized Racism

Friday, September 22, 2017 from 3:00 PM - 4:45 PM in Room 147B
Since its introduction in 1989, H.R. 40, the Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act, has sought to further a national dialogue on the plight of Africans-Americans in the context of slavery, Jim Crow, and other legally sanctioned forms of discrimination. With a renewed dialogue on the issue of reparations, both on the domestic and international levels, this legislation presents a real opportunity to create an official government-based discussion. This Braintrust will bring together commentators from a variety of positions to explore strategies for broadening the debate on reparations in an increasingly “post-racial” society.


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Saturday, September 16, 2017

Mueller meets with House Judiciary chairman, top Democrat

WASHINGTON — The chairman and top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee have met
U.S. House Judiciary Chairmen, Goodlatte & Conyers
with Special Counsel Bob Mueller. That’s according to the committee, which says they met Thursday.

Mueller is investigating allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and any possible links to President Donald Trump’s campaign.

Several congressional committees are also investigating, but Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia has said his panel will defer to Mueller. Goodlatte has said the panel will exercise oversight over Mueller as appropriate, and that Mueller should not be impeded by politics.

Goodlatte has also called on the Justice Department to appoint a second special counsel to investigate “unaddressed issues” related to the 2016 election and former Obama administration officials, including Hillary Clinton.

Democrat John Conyers of Michigan also attended the meeting.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/mueller-meets-with-house-judiciary-chairman-top-democrat/2017/09/15/67312690-9a0a-11e7-af6a-6555caaeb8dc_story.html?utm_term=.5e34d762f166

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CONYERS: Pass DREAM Act Now

The six-month delay in initiating this process does no justice for these DREAMers and the families who will be torn apart.

And the Trump Administration’s pretext for this action—DACA’s supposed unconstitutionality—simply doesn’t carry water. I stand with DREAMers & call on House Republicans' Leaders to pass the DREAMAct now.


#ProtectDREAMers

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CONYERS: Ahead Of Constitution Day, Conyers Introduces Resolution Urging Congress And The States To Reform The Electoral College


Washington, D.C. – In advance of Sunday’s Constitution Day, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) introduced H. Con. Res. 79, a resolution expressing the sense of Congress that it and the States should consider a constitutional amendment to reform the Electoral College and to establish a process for electing the President and Vice President by a national popular vote.  The resolution also encourages the states to further their efforts to form an interstate compact to award their Electoral College votes to the national popular vote winner.  Rep. Conyers released the following statement upon the bill’s introduction: 

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, jr.
“This Sunday, September 17 is Constitution Day, which marks the 230th anniversary of the Philadelphia Convention’s approval of the Constitution.  We should rightly celebrate the day that the Framers endorsed the basic framework of our democratic system of government enshrined in our Nation’s governing charter.  Yet, we should also use this day as an opportunity to reflect on the fact that the Constitution still retains the Electoral College, a fundamentally anti-democratic process for electing our Nation’s highest federal officeholders.

“On five occasions in our history, the Electoral College has permitted the national popular vote winner to lose the presidential election, including the most recent election, where Hillary Clinton won nearly 3 million more votes than Electoral College winner Donald Trump. This occurs because a presidential candidate needs only 270 electoral votes and 48 states award their electoral votes on a “winner-take-all” basis.  As a result, the Electoral College creates perverse incentives for candidates that further distort the presidential campaign process in undemocratic ways.

“For example, the Electoral College encourages candidates to focus their campaign efforts on only a handful of so-called swing states.  During the last presidential campaign, for example, both major party candidates largely bypassed three of the four states with the largest populations and skipped campaigning in 12 of the 13 smallest states as well.  

“Additionally, the Electoral College is an anachronistic institution intended, in part, to protect the institution of slavery. According to Yale Law School Professor Akhil Reed Amar, who participated in a forum on Electoral College reform sponsored by House Judiciary Committee Democrats last year, the Electoral College was established, in part, to preserve the political influence of slaveholding states. Although enslaved populations were not allowed to vote, slave states insisted that three-fifths of enslaved persons be counted when determining a state’s representation in the House, which in turn affected the number of Electoral College votes allotted to the state.
           
“Given its history and undemocratic nature, it is clear that the Electoral College system must be replaced with a process that determines the election of the president and vice president by a national popular vote.  As such, Congress and the States should consider a constitutional amendment to reform the Electoral College.

“And, Congress should also encourage the States to reform the Electoral College through the formation of an interstate compact. Eleven states representing 165 electoral votes have already entered into an interstate compact to cast their electoral votes for the national popular vote winner.  When enough states – representing 270 electoral votes – join the compact, the presidential election will essentially be determined by national popular vote, obviating the need for a constitutional amendment.
               
“In a democracy, no person’s vote should be worth more than any other person’s vote.  Congress should affirm its commitment to this essential principle and definitively declare that the American people, not state-based Electors, should have the power to directly select the President and Vice President of the United States.”

Original cosponsors include,  Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), Rep. Luis Guti√©rrez (D-IL), Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Rep. Al Green (D-TX).

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

CONYERS Applauds Bernie Sanders' Senate Introduction Of Medicare For All Legislation

Conyers Adds 118th Cosponsor to House Legislation Today

Washington, D.C. – Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13) today released the following statement on the Senate introduction of Medicare for All legislation:

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
“The Affordable Care Act has done a great deed for our nation in providing millions who were uninsured with health insurance. It is vital that we continue to protect and build on this progress; however, it’s a fact that there are still millions of Americans who don’t have health insurance or have high-deductible plans that they can’t afford to use.

“I’ve been introducing H.R. 676, The Expanded And Improved Medicare For All Act since 2003. Under my bill, instead of a complicated, expensive network of exchanges and employer-sponsored plans and networks administered by for-profit insurance companies that some people can afford and many others can’t,  we would have one health insurance plan, one health insurer and one network available to every single American. In other words, we would finally have guaranteed, universal healthcare. I’m proud that we currently have 118 House Democrats who cosponsored the legislation – a majority of the Democratic Caucus.

“I applaud Senator Bernie Sanders’ introduction of the Senate companion to my Medicare for All bill and all of the momentum he has garnered in support of a universal single-payer healthcare system. 

“Healthcare should be a right, not a privilege for those who can afford it.  It deserves to be an essential service provided by the government, no different than fire departments, public schools, and military protection.

“Poll after poll shows that Americans agree that we have a collective obligation to guarantee healthcare coverage to everyone through a government financed healthcare system. It’s time for a real debate, including hearings, independent analysis, and input from doctors, patients, and hospitals.

“As I’ve said many times before, it took a nationwide movement to achieve civil rights. I introduced legislation to make Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s birthday a federal holiday and it took nearly two decades for it to become a reality. In that same vein, we are creating a movement to make Medicare for All the law of the land.”





Background: In January 2017, Congressman John Conyers, Jr. reintroduced H.R. 676, “The Expanded And Improved Medicare For All Act.” H.R. 676 would expand and improve the highly popular Medicare program and provide universal access to care to all Americans. Rep. Conyers has introduced H.R.676 every year since 2003. 

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CONYERS: House Judiciary Committee Democrats Walk Out On Markup Sabotage Of Comey Firing Inquiry

House Judiciary Committee Republicans doubled down on their neglect of conducting oversight of
the Trump Administration by sabotaging a markup of Representatives David Cicilline (RI-01) and Pramila Jayapal’s (WA-07) resolution of inquiry that requested the Trump Administration to release information pertaining to the firing of FBI Director James Comey and Attorney General Sessions’ involvement in that decision.

 Early into the debate, Chairman Bob Goodlatte “called the previous question” — a procedural move that shut down debate in its entirety and denied Democrats an opportunity to discuss the bill further. In protest, Democrats walked out of the committee room and took to Facebook Live to share their thoughts.


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Sunday, September 10, 2017

CONYERS: Members Hold Forum On Affirmative Action, Racial Climate On College Campuses




Image may contain: 1 person, sittingWASHINGTON – On FRIDAYSeptember 8th, Members of the U.S. House of Representatives held a forum entitled “Affirmative Action, Inclusion, and Racial Climate on America’s Campuses.” Amidst national conversations on white supremacy, xenophobia, and racial inequality, reports surfaced suggesting that the Trump Administration has plans to reexamine the values of racial diversity on campuses.

Image may contain: 3 peopleThis forum convened student officers, representatives from institutions of higher education, and key legal experts to discuss the role of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act in ensuring that students are welcomed to a safe, inclusive learning environment free of harassment and intimidation on the basis of race, color, or national origin.
 Image may contain: 4 people, people sitting
         
  • Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03), Ranking Member, Committee on Education & the Workforce
  • Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13), Ranking Member, Committee on the Judiciary
  • Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18)
  • Congressman Hank Johnson, Jr. (GA-04)
  • Additional Members of Congress
  • Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund
  • Richard Cohen, Executive Director, Southern Poverty Law Center
  • Theresa Sullivan, President, University of Virginia
  • Dr. Benjamin Reese, Vice President of the Office for Institutional Equity, Duke University
  • Roger Worthington, Chief Diversity Officer, University of Maryland
  • Taylor Dumpson, Student President, American University
  • Weston “Wes” Gobar, President, Black Student Alliance, University of Virginia
  • Payton Head, Former Student Body President, University of Missouri

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CONYERS: House Judiciary Republicans Double Down On Refusal To Conduct Trump Oversight; Silence Dem Voices During Markup Before Dems Walk Out



Washington, D.C. – September 7, 2017, House Judiciary Committee Republicans doubled down on their neglect of conducting oversight of the Trump Administration by sabotaging a markup of Representatives David Cicilline (RI-01) and Pramila Jayapal’s (WA-07)  resolution of inquiry, below, that requested the Trump Administration to release information pertaining to the firing of FBI Director James Comey and Attorney General Sessions’ involvement in that decision.


Early into the debate, Chairman Bob Goodlatte “called the previous question” – a procedural move that shut down debate in its entirety and denied Democrats an opportunity to discuss the bill further.

In protest, Democrats walked out of the committee room and took to Facebook Live to share their thoughts.


When the original version of the resolution was considered in July, Judiciary Republicans hijacked the markup using a similar tactic by replacing the content of the bill with Hillary Clinton conspiracies sourced from a pro-Trump forum hosted by Reddit.

House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) today released the following statement:

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
“Today, the Majority denied us one of the most fundamental rights—not only of the Minority, but of democracy itself—the right to debate. Just as we had begun our consideration of H. Res. 488, the Cicilline-Jayapal resolution of inquiry, the Majority took the draconian step of calling the previous question—blocking discussion of amendments we had planned to offer, and cutting off all further debate.

“This is not how our Committee has operated in the past.  This is not how our Committee should operate ever. A resolution of inquiry is one of the few avenues available to the Minority to attempt to obtain information from this Administration.  We have only turned to these resolutions out of necessity. 

“Since President Trump took office, my colleagues and I have written to the Administration more than 20 times.  To date, we have not received a single meaningful response.  We have written to Chairman Goodlatte six times, asking for oversight hearings with Administration personnel.  We have not received a response to these requests either.  The Committee has not yet held a single substantive oversight hearing of the Trump Administration.

“The resolution before us today asked for information related to the firing of James Comey, the scope and application of the Attorney General’s recusal, and a meeting at Trump Tower between Russian officials and senior campaign personnel, among other pressing matters within our immediate jurisdiction.  We require this information to do our jobs, plain and simple.

“Today was a sad day for our Committee and a sad day for democracy—but we will not surrender to these heavy-handed tactics.  We have a responsibility to continue to ask questions and conduct oversight, whether or not the Majority will join us in that effort. In short, until the Trump Administration answers our questions, and until the Majority calls them here to do so, my colleagues and I will continue to do everything in our power to hold both the Administration and the Majority accountable.”

BACKGROUND:   House Judiciary Committee Democrats have long been calling for House Judiciary Republicans to provide proper oversight of Trump and his Administration. Democrats have written to Chairman Goodlatte six times to request hearings and have also sent several letters to Speaker Paul Ryan, the Department of Justice and the White House requesting related information. These letters have gone unanswered and House Judiciary Republicans have so far blocked Rep. Jerrold Nadler’s (D-NY) resolution of inquiryReps. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and Ted Lieu’s (D-CA) resolution of inquiryand the original Jayapal/Cicilline resolution, from reaching the House floor.  Instead, Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee continue to do Trump’s bidding. Committee Republican Rep. Ron Desantis (R-FL) has even introduced an amendment to end Robert Mueller’s investigation.

A resolution of inquiry is a legislative tool that has privileged parliamentary status, meaning it can be brought to the floor if the relevant committee hasn’t reported it within 14 legislative days, even if the Majority leadership has not scheduled it for a vote.

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CONYERS: House Judiciary Committee To Consider New Comey Firing Resolution



The House Judiciary Committee is now considering a new version of Representatives David Cicilline (RI-01) and Pramila Jayapal’s (WA-07) resolution of inquiry requesting the Trump Administration to release any and all information pertaining to the firing of FBI Director James Comey and Attorney General Sessions’ involvement. Full text of the new resolution is available here.

When the original resolution was considered in July, Judiciary Republicans hijacked the markup by adopting an amendment offered by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), that stripped the content of the bill and substituted a request for information on a wide range of right-wing conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton, sourced from a Reddit conspiracy forum.

House Judiciary Committee Democrats have long been calling for House Judiciary Republicans to provide proper oversight over Trump and his Administration. Democrats have written to Chairman Goodlatte six times to request hearings and have also sent several letters to Speaker Paul Ryan, the Department of Justice and the White House requesting related information. 

These letters have gone unanswered and House Judiciary Republicans have so far blocked Rep. Jerrold Nadler’s (D-NY) resolution of inquiryReps. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and Ted Lieu’s (D-CA) resolution of inquiryand the original Jayapal/Cicillineresolution, from reaching the House floor.  Instead, Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee continue to do Trump’s bidding. Committee Republican Rep. Ron Desantis even introduced an amendment to end Robert Mueller’s investigation.

BACKGROUND:  A resolution of inquiry is a legislative tool that has privileged parliamentary status, meaning it can be brought to the floor if the relevant committee hasn’t reported it within 14 legislative days, even if the Majority leadership has not scheduled it for a vote.

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CONYERS, CUMMINGS, GOMEZ & LOFGREN Seek Immediate Hearings On President's Decision To End DACA


Washington, D.C. (Sept. 7, 2017)—Democratic leaders on the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the Committee on the Judiciary sent a letter, below, to their respective Chairmen, Reps. Trey Gowdy and Bob Goodlatte, requesting immediate congressional hearings on the impact of President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

“This action is cruel and heartless, and it is now up to Congress to reverse it,” the Members wrote.  “We believe it is critical for the American people to hear public testimony regarding the President’s decision, including the resulting economic costs and social harm to the nation.”  

Last Congress, the Oversight Committee held 11 hearings on issues related to immigration, and the Judiciary Committee regularly holds hearings on immigration issues.  Yet no full Committee hearings on the President’s termination of DACA have been scheduled to date.

The letter was signed by Oversight Committee Ranking Member Elijah E. Cummings, Oversight Committee Member Jimmy Gomez, Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr., and Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security Ranking Member Zoe Lofgren.


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