An update to John’s post earlier. The headline’s a joke, of course, but not much of one. As several conservatives on Twitter have marveled, what they’re really protesting here is due process for American citizens.
Says Phil Kerpen, is this the first anti-civil-rights sit-in?
In an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Lewis said “too many of our children, too many of our sisters and brothers, our mothers and fathers, our friends, our cousins are dying by guns and we have to do something about it.”…
“We don’t have any intention of leaving anytime soon,” Lewis said…
“The House cannot operate without members following the rules of the institution, so the House has recessed subject to the call of the chair,” his spokesman AshLee Strong said in a statement…
On Wednesday, the group of lawmakers chanted from the floor: “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired!” and “No bill, no break!” while the House remained in recess.
Not 24 hours ago, Senate Democrats had the chance to vote on a bill that would have given them the core of what they want, namely, DOJ power to block gun purchases by anyone on a terror watch list. All they had to do was make a simple concession to due process by requiring the feds to go to court and show their work, proving to a judge within three days of the attempted purchase that the person on the list was actually dangerous. Too many innocent people have been put on watch lists erroneously to grant the federal government power to strip them of their rights with no judicial safeguard. That was the Cornyn bill; it died in the Senate, 53/47, when Democrats refused to give it the 60 votes it needed for cloture. The left killed the bill only because it provided due process to gun owners. Even the ACLU is aghast:
Our nation’s watchlisting system is error-prone and unreliable because it uses vague and overbroad criteria and secret evidence to place individuals on blacklists without a meaningful process to correct government error and clear their names…
The government contends that it can place Americans on the No Fly List who have never been charged let alone convicted of a crime, on the basis of prediction that they nevertheless pose a threat (which is undefined) of conduct that the government concedes “may or may not occur.” Criteria like these guarantee a high risk of error and it is imperative that the watchlisting system include due process safeguards—which it does not. In the context of the No Fly List, for example, the government refuses to provide even Americans who know they are on the List with the full reasons for the placement, the basis for those reasons, and a hearing before a neutral decision-maker.
Democrats, who were very offended indeed by George W. Bush’s expansion of the surveillance state (once it was politically safe after 9/11 to feel that way), simply don’t care about the due-process objections even though the no-fly list has been held unconstitutional by a federal judge. Given the opportunity to pass legislation with Republican help that would make it harder for watch-listers to get guns, they passed for the most cynical reason — because the bill’s success would deny them a talking point they need to get their base out to vote this fall. If a bipartisan Congress agrees to “no fly, no buy (for three days at least),” that’s one less thing that Democrats have to dangle in front of skeptical progressives as a reason to turn out. They’re rather continue to let watch-listers buy guns without a hitch, knowing that if some degenerate on a list shoots up another club somewhere, Republicans will be blamed for that despite Cornyn’s best efforts. Politically “our bill or no bill” is win/win. No wonder major Democratic pols from Hillary Clinton to Bill Clinton to The One himself are all touching themselves this afternoon over this anti-constitutional grandstanding idiocy. And no wonder they’ve got John Lewis, the civil-rights hero, involved in it, to lend the stunt the veneer that it’s somehow designed to support civil rights instead of undermine them. Read CNN’s breathless report on the sit-in and Lewis’s role in it; I count exactly one skeptical line as of 3 p.m. ET and that’s a perfunctory criticism from Paul Ryan’s office. When do the Democratic fundraising e-mails go out? Or have they already?
The latest is that the Republican leadership has ordered the cameras in the House turned off to deny Democrats a media platform for their stunt. That’ll inevitably be treated as some sort of war crime even though Democrats themselves did the same thing in pulling the plug on a GOP protest back in 2008. In lieu of an exit question, meditate on this: John Lewis himself was once … erroneously included on a no-fly list. He’s effectively protesting against his own rights.
Update: Your media is deep, deep, deep in the tank.
In a gaggle of 30 reporters, every reporter asked about how "historic" the sit in was.
— Joe Perticone (@JoePerticone) June 22, 2016