Legislative Branch (Congress/Senate/House of Representatives/Parliament)
Articles and Resources
Date Fairness.com Resource Read it at: May 15, 2012 Is the filibuster unconstitutional?
QUOTE: Bondurant thinks the filibuster is unconstitutional. And, alongside Common Cause, where he serves on the board of directors, he’s suing to have the Supreme Court abolish it....In a 2011 article in the Harvard Law School’s Journal on Legislation, Bondurant laid out his case for why the filibuster crosses constitutional red lines.
Washington Post Mar 11, 2012 Cry, the Beloved Constitution (Op-Ed)
QUOTE: Both liberals and conservatives have the American Constitution in the cross hairs. They assault the Constitution in their different ways, each with damaging effects on our nation. Conservatives attack the courts on one hand and seek to have them advance their activist agenda on the other. Liberals, when it suits them, embrace rights that have not been enumerated in the Constitution and cry for restraint only when their pet bills come under fire. The result is a national jurisprudence whetted by political appetite, with our democratic values as the victims.
International Herald Tribune (IHT) Nov 29, 2011 How to Free Congress’s Mind (Op-Ed)
QUOTE: Institutional reforms themselves require a change in the mind-sets of our political leaders, and they will not happen without compromise. Either legislators adopt a compromising attitude, in which case the reforms are not essential, or they do not adopt it, in which case they will not be able to agree on the reforms. There is no deus ex machina that will save Congress from itself.
New York Times Oct 21, 2011 The Ugliness Started With Bork
QUOTE: [The Bork] nomination battle is also a reminder that our poisoned politics is not just about Republicans behaving badly, as many Democrats and their liberal allies have convinced themselves. Democrats can be — and have been — every bit as obstructionist, mean-spirited and unfair.
New York Times Aug 05, 2011 Ex-Lawmaker Still a Friend of Hospitals
QUOTE: House members are banned from lobbying on Capitol Hill for a year after leaving office (Mr. Pomeroy’s term ended in January), but Mr. Pomeroy, a Democrat, has teamed up with his former chief of staff, who is not subject to the restriction, as a lobbying partner.
New York Times Jul 25, 2011 Question of Birth Becomes One of President’s Power
QUOTE: In 2002, [Congress] directed the State Department to “record the place of birth as Israel” in passports of American children born in Jerusalem if their parents ask. President George W. Bush signed that bill...But Mr. Bush also said he would not obey it.
New York Times Jul 24, 2011 The 14th Amendment, the Debt Ceiling and a Way Out
QUOTE: former President Bill Clinton identified a constitutional escape hatch should President Obama and Congress fail to come to terms on a deficit reduction plan before the government hits its borrowing ceiling. He pointed to an obscure provision in the 14th Amendment...
New York Times Jun 24, 2011 Them That’s Not Shall Lose
QUOTE: if Washington politicians ever knew the sting of poverty then they have long since vanquished the memory. How else to qualify their positions? In fact, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, nearly half of all members of Congress are millionaires, and between 2008 and 2009, when most Americans were feeling the brunt of the recession, the personal wealth of members of Congress collectively increased by more than 16 percent.
New York Times Jun 06, 2011 Weiner Admits He Sent Lewd Photos; Seeks Not to Resign
QUOTE: Representative Anthony D. Weiner, a rising star in Democratic politics who many believed would be the next mayor of New York City, admitted on Monday to having had inappropriate online exchanges with at least six women, and repeatedly lying....There was a striking absence of public expressions of support from his colleagues, and the House Democratic leader, Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, called for an ethics investigation into his conduct.
New York Times May 25, 2011 How Can Congress Debate a Secret Law?
QUOTE: Legal scholars, law professors, advocacy groups, and the Congressional Research Service have all written interpretations of the Patriot Act and Americans can read any of these interpretations and decide whether they support or agree with them. But by far the most important interpretation of what the law means is the official interpretation used by the U.S. government and this interpretation is - stunningly -classified.
Huffington Post May 24, 2011 Members of Congress Get Abnormally High Returns From Their Stocks
QUOTE: "In the course of performing their normal duties, members of Congress have access to non-public information that could have a substantial impact on certain businesses, industries or the economy as a whole. If used as the basis for common stock transactions, such information could yield significant personal trading profits," they wrote.
Huffington Post May 13, 2011 U.S. Scrutinized Ensign, but Senate Dug Deeper
QUOTE: the Senate’s harsh report — contrasted with the Justice Department’s inaction — provided further evidence for those who complain that the agency has seemed skittish about taking on public officials following the fiasco that resulted from the 2008 corruption case against the late Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska, which was ultimately dropped amid charges of prosecutorial misconduct.
New York Times Apr 20, 2011 Even in an era of budget cuts, these government programs won’t die
QUOTE: But they have survived, again and again, thanks to powerful lobbies or high-placed patrons in Congress… “If lawmakers can’t cut programs that cost a few million, how are they going to cut deficits that are going to be in the trillions?”
Washington Post Mar 11, 2011 A Legal Privilege That Some Lawmakers See Broadly
QUOTE: (Steven F. Huefner) said the privilege, which is included in the United States Constitution and in many state constitutions, was designed to protect lawmakers from civil matters that would interfere with their legislative duties. “The legislative privilege should not become a get-out-of-jail-free card or escape-from-ever-being-put-in-jail card for state legislators."
New York Times Jan 06, 2011 Republicans Are Given a Price Tag for Health Law Repeal, but Reject It
QUOTE: The new House speaker, John A. Boehner, flatly rejected the report, saying it was based largely on chicanery by Democrats....effectively putting him on a war footing with the independent analysts whose calculations generally guide discussions about the projected cost or savings of any legislation.
New York Times Dec 24, 2010 Democrats Seek Changes to Senate Procedures
QUOTE: Frustrated by routine filibusters and other procedural blockades, Senate Democrats are urging their leadership to negotiate with Republicans to change the rules that govern how the Senate does business. The Democrats would leave intact the ability of the minority party to filibuster legislation and nominations, meaning that in most cases it would still take 60 votes to get anything done. But they want to require senators to be on the floor if they intend to try to debate a bill to death and would make other changes to streamline the Senate’s operations...
New York Times Dec 19, 2010 'Don't ask, don't tell' is repealed by Senate; bill awaits Obama's signing
QUOTE: The U.S. military will for the first time in history allow gays to serve openly after the Senate voted Saturday to repeal "don't ask, don't tell," the policy that has required such troops to hide their sexual identity or risk being expelled from the services. While opponents said repeal would create a battlefield distraction that could endanger troops, supporters drew parallels to the military's decision to end racial segregation in the 1950s and the admission of women to military service academies in the 1970s.
Washington Post May 25, 2010 Rep. James Moran's investments illustrate Congress's leeway in trading
QUOTE: Long-standing congressional ethics rules allow almost any kind of trading and investment, subject in general to the judgment of individual lawmakers. Those rules also allow spouses to have jobs in areas that touch on a lawmaker's activity or investments. Moreover, lawmakers are not required to abstain from voting or divest themselves of stock when most potential conflicts arise.
Washington Post May 11, 2010 Iraqi Deal to End De-Baathification
QUOTE: Iraqi politicians have reached an agreement to halt a four-month campaign to bar candidates from politics for ties to the Baath Party, American and Iraqi officials said, papering over the sectarian tensions it unleashed, at least for now, and removing an obstacle in the long-delayed process of forming a new government.
New York Times Mar 04, 2010 Somali official's immunity case raises legal, policy issues
QUOTE: The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) protects foreign states and their "agencies and instrumentalities" from lawsuits, with a few limited exceptions. But the Torture Victim Protection Act authorizes lawsuits, and was passed specifically to ensure that those "who avail themselves of the protections and privileges of residency in the United States also bear responsibility for their actions, especially actions as significant as torture," according to a brief filed by its congressional sponsors.
Washington Post Mar 03, 2010 Rangel Steps Aside From Post During Ethics Inquiry
QUOTE: Representative Charles B. Rangel stepped down on Wednesday as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee after losing support within his party because of ethics violations....The ethics panel is still investigating more serious accusations regarding Mr. Rangel’s fund-raising, his failure to pay federal taxes on rental income from a villa he owns in the Dominican Republic and his use of four rent-stabilized apartments provided by a Manhattan real estate developer.
New York Times Feb 27, 2010 Ethics panel clears 7 on earmarks
QUOTE: the ethics committee declared that lawmakers are free to raise campaign money from the very companies they are benefiting so long as the deciding factors in granting those "earmarks" are "criteria independent" of the contributions. The report served as a blunt rejection of ethics watchdogs and a different group of congressional investigators, who have contended that in some instances the connection between donations and earmarks was so close that it had to be inappropriate.
Washington Post Sep 17, 2009 Expand the House? (On Politics)
QUOTE: because each state gets at least one seat... and because the overall size of the House has not changed in a century, the number of people represented by a single congressman can vary widely.
New York Times May 23, 2009 In Going After Pelosi, Gingrich Is Merely Squaring the Circle
QUOTE: Now, the Pelosi-Gingrich relationship has become one of more interesting subtexts of the furor.... rekindling the tension between the two and underscoring how in recent years both parties have waged war against the House speaker to advance their political goals.
New York Times Jan 03, 2009 Senate GOP prepared to fight if Dems try to seat Franken
QUOTE: Minnesota's other senator, Democrat Amy Klobuchar, told the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune this week that if the state Canvassing Board -- which is tasked with tallying votes -- certifies a winner, the Senate should "consider seating that person pending litigation." Klobuchar's statement prompted Cornyn, a Republican from Texas and the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, to threaten a filibuster to block Democrats from seating Franken before an official certificate is signed by Ritchie and Pawlenty.
CNN (Cable News Network) Dec 12, 2008 Obama to Hear Panel on Changes to War Powers Act
QUOTE: Mr. Obama met Thursday with the leaders of a commission that has proposed revamping the legal process for launching military action, to require more consultation between a president and Congress. The proposal would scrap the problematic War Powers Act of 1973, a measure passed in the hangover from Vietnam to give Congress more say in committing troops to the battlefield but largely honored in the breach ever since...
New York Times Nov 13, 2008 Bush, Out of Office, Could Oppose Inquiries
QUOTE: a precedent suggesting that former presidents wield lingering powers to keep matters from their administration secret. Now, as Congressional Democrats prepare to move forward with investigations of the Bush administration, they wonder whether that claim may be invoked again.
New York Times Oct 29, 2008 Most Presidents Ignore the Constitution: The government we have today is something the Founders could never have imagined.
QUOTE: It is clear that the Framers wrote a Constitution as a result of which contracts would be enforced, risk would be real, choices would be free and have consequences, and private property would be sacrosanct. The $700 billion bailout of large banks that Congress recently enacted runs afoul of virtually all these constitutional principles.
Wall Street Journal, The (WSJ) Oct 27, 2008 Stevens Found Guilty on 7 Counts: Senator Will Remain on Nov. 4 Ballot
QUOTE: Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska, one of Congress's most powerful Republicans, was convicted yesterday of lying on financial disclosure forms to conceal his receipt of gifts and expensive renovations to his house, just eight days before he faces voters in a tight reelection contest.
Washington Post Jul 13, 2008 In House, Tweets Fly Over Web Plan
QUOTE: “I just learned the Dems are trying to censor Congressmen’s ability to use Twitter Qik YouTube Utterz etc — outrageous and I will fight them,” Representative John Culberson, Republican of Texas, wrote last Tuesday on his personal page on the online text-messaging site Twitter, where he posts a daily, rapid-fire log of his thoughts. Messages on Twitter are called tweets.
New York Times Jul 11, 2008 Setback for White House on Visitor Logs
QUOTE: The Bush administration was dealt a setback on Friday in its efforts to keep records of White House visitors under wraps when an appeals court refused to throw out a lawsuit seeking access to the material. The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that it would be premature to consider reversal of a lower court ruling last December that the White House visitor logs were public records, and that the administration should stop withholding them from scrutiny by outside groups.
New York Times Jul 02, 2008 New evidence collected in 1946 lynching case
QUOTE: On July 25, 1946, two black sharecropper couples were shot hundreds of times and the unborn baby of one of the women cut out with a knife at the Moore's Ford Bridge. One of the men had been accused of stabbing a white man 11 days earlier and was bailed out of jail by a former Ku Klux Klan member and known bootlegger who drove him, his wife, her brother and his wife to the bridge. The FBI statement said investigators were following up on information recently received in the case, one of several the agency has revived in an effort to close decades-old cases from the civil rights era and before.
CNN (Cable News Network) May 20, 2008 Not All Earmarks Are Paid in Full, and a Senator Wants to Know Why
QUOTE: While many of his questions remain unanswered, Mr. Nelson says that federal agencies have been taking a cut from earmarked funds for years, some for unrelated purposes as varied as staff salaries and postage stamps. Mr. Nelson calls the practice “earmark skimming,” and lately he has become increasingly vocal over what he describes as unaccountable federal bureaucrats diverting millions of dollars into agency “slush funds
New York Times Apr 20, 2008 Ethics Law Isn’t Without Its Loopholes
QUOTE: Starting Monday, Washington lobbyists must file detailed quarterly reports of their activities...But even as they try to figure out what the law requires, lobbyists are working to preserve the access and influence they have in Congress and at federal agencies.
New York Times Mar 12, 2008 House Creates New Panel On Ethics
QUOTE: The House last night approved one of the most significant changes to its ethics rules in decades, creating for the first time an independent panel empowered to initiate investigations of alleged misconduct by members of the chamber.
Washington Post Nov 21, 2007 Ruling Will Cripple Probes Of Lawmakers, U.S. Says
QUOTE: Justice Department lawyers said in their motion that the appellate ruling represents an "unprecedented expansion" of the "speech or debate" clause of the Constitution, which was intended to protect legislators from intimidation under civil or criminal law. They said the decision calls into question the legality of investigative tools such as wiretapping, searches of home offices and voluntary interviews of congressional staffers.
Washington Post Nov 16, 2007 'Pork' still reigns on Capitol Hill: Lawmakers have dropped in at least 12,000 earmarks worth $24.7 billion.
QUOTE: Moreover, say watchdog groups and some members, Congress has waived its own new rules on these spending add-ons, meaning the public is unable to see earmarks on a searchable database before they come up for a vote. Millions of dollars in projects are still being "air-dropped" into final bills behind closed doors, they charge.
Christian Science Monitor Nov 02, 2007 Thousands Rally Against Georgia’s Once Popular President
QUOTE: Last year, Mr. Saakashvili and Parliament amended the Constitution to extend the Parliament’s term to next fall — officially, to align Parliament with the presidential election cycle — an act that the opposition said will make the legislature illegitimate when the term it was elected to expires in the spring.
New York Times Oct 24, 2007 Effort to Censure Lawmaker for a Comment Falls Short
QUOTE: Representative Pete Stark, Democrat of California, escaped a censure Tuesday for incendiary remarks he made last week about President Bush and the war in Iraq.
New York Times Oct 14, 2007 Getting Around Rules on Lobbying: Despite New Law, Firms Find Ways To Ply Politicians
QUOTE: Looking for ways to keep spreading freebies legally, hundreds of lobbyists have been attending seminars at Washington law firms to learn the ins and outs of the new law.
Washington Post Aug 28, 2007 Craig: I did nothing 'inappropriate' in the airport bathroom
QUOTE: On Tuesday, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a complaint with the Senate Ethics Committee, asking that the senator's conduct be investigated. The group, which largely targets Republicans, asked the committee to probe whether Craig "violated the Senate Rules of Conduct by engaging in disorderly conduct," a statement said.
CNN (Cable News Network) Aug 14, 2007 Congressman, It's (Still) on Us: The Ethics Law's Many Loopholes
QUOTE: [While] legislation bars lobbyists from providing meals and gifts to lawmakers... Miller and others point out that the ban is full of loopholes.
Washington Post Aug 01, 2007 Congressional lobby reform aims at disclosure: The US House clears a bill that lifts the curtain on contacts between lobbyists, lawmakers.
QUOTE: ...Democratic leaders in Congress are moving ahead on lobby and ethics reform legislation that they say will make sweeping changes in the way business is done in Washington. At the heart of the measure are new reporting requirements for lobbyists' expenditures on Capitol Hill and protections against conflict of interest for members.
Christian Science Monitor Jul 30, 2007 Some Immigration Bills Aim for Little Victories: Individual Remedies a Controversial Last Resort
QUOTE: For those whose requests have been denied by federal officials and rejected by immigration judges, Congress is the court of last resort. Touched by their stories and convinced of the need for occasional flexibility, lawmakers have introduced more than 500 private immigration bills since 1996.... Some immigrant advocates call it special treatment for people with common problems.
Washington Post Jul 24, 2007 House Passes Ban On Campaign Pay Going to Spouses
QUOTE: The vote follows a study released last month by the liberal-leaning watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington that found that nearly 100 chairmen and ranking minority members of House committees used their roles to benefit their families...
Washington Post Jul 23, 2007 Right Urges Showdown With Democrats Over Judicial Nominees
QUOTE: as President Bush last week named four candidates to fill long-standing vacancies on federal appeals courts, conservative legal activists were spoiling for a fight over what they call the unfair treatment of the president's judicial nominees.
Washington Post Jul 17, 2007 Imprisoned Cunningham outlines depths of corruption to FBI
QUOTE: In two days of prison interviews with federal agents this year, disgraced former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham described a level of corruption on his part more extensive than previously known...
San Diego Union-Tribune Jun 21, 2007 Cheney Power Grab: Says White House Rules Don’t Apply to Him
QUOTE: Vice President Dick Cheney has asserted his office is not a part of the executive branch of the U.S. government, and therefore not bound by a presidential order governing the protection of classified information by government agencies, according to a new letter from Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., to Cheney.
ABC News Jun 19, 2007 'Signing Statements' Study Finds Administration Has Ignored Laws
QUOTE: President Bush has asserted that he is not necessarily bound by the bills he signs into law, and yesterday a congressional study found multiple examples in which the administration has not complied with the requirements of the new statutes.
Washington Post Jun 19, 2007 US agencies disobey 6 laws that president challenged: Officials regarded some as advisory
QUOTE: Federal officials have disobeyed at least six new laws that President Bush challenged in his signing statements, a government study disclosed yesterday. The report provides the first evidence that the government may have acted on claims by Bush that he can set aside laws under his executive powers.
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