For Shame!: AETA Passes the House

Tuesday, November 14th, 2006

As I mentioned earlier, AETA passed the House yesterday afternoon; out of the House and the Senate, the only Congressperson who voted against it was Dennis Kucinich.

As described by Dr. Alex Hershaft (FARM’s President/Founder and co-founder of the Equal Justice Alliance), the voting process was nefarious, to say the least:

Today (11/13/06), a dozen of us from Equal Justice Alliance, FARM, League of Humane Voters, and Compassion Over Killing spent five hours visiting Congressional offices and urging them to vote against AETA, which had been scheduled over the weekend for a sudden vote at 6:30 pm. We were carrying suporting statements from the National Lawyers Guild, the New York City Bar Association, and the Natural Resources Defense Council. At each office, we were told that the mail and calls were running overwhelmingly in our favor.

Around 3pm, one of the legislative aides said that the bill was just being debated on the House floor. He gave me a pass, and I rushed to the Capitol across the street. I was astonished to see only about six House members present. House Judiciary Chairman Sensenbrenner spoke in favor of AETA, quoting Jerry Vlasak’s and other’s past extreme statements. Dennis Kucinich joined in abhorring violence, but noted that the bill infringed on civil liberties of people conducting civil disobedience or undercover investigations. Sensenbrenner invoked lack of opposition from the ACLU. Then the chair called for a voice vote, and Kucinich cast the only no vote. It was all over in 15 minutes.

(More below the fold…)