Dems huddle on Sensenbrenner action

Democrats yesterday were considering a response to a news report that House Judiciary Chairman James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) chastised the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago for giving a drug courier what he considered to be a light sentence.

The Chicago Tribune reported July 10 that Sensenbrenner, who is a lawyer, wrote a five-page letter to the court demanding that it change its decision giving the courier a 97-month sentence instead of at least 120 months, which Sensenbrenner argued was required by a drug-conspiracy statute.

Judiciary Committee Democratic staff huddled at press time yesterday to determine how, or if, to respond to the letter, which, according to the Tribune, may violate House ethics rules that prohibit communicating privately with judges on legal matters.

One approach Democrats were considering was to ask the ethics committee, only recently back in business after a long impasse over disagreements over committee staffing, to review the letter, according to one Democratic aide who is not on the Judiciary Committee staff.
Jim Snyder