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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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Sitting in to ignore due process

Uploaded: Jun 30, 2016

The Livermore Valley’s Congressman Eric Swawell joined one of his mentors, San Francisco Congressman Nancy Pelosi, for the Democratic sit-in on the House of Representatives floor last week.
So, this week, with a campaign finance deadline coming today, Eric turned around and tried to leverage that activity into donations from his supporters. Given that Eric faces only token opposition in the fall, presumably he’s raising money to build a war chest against potential future Democrat challengers or if he decides to take a run for higher office.
The protest was designed to force the Republican leadership to take a vote on the proposal to ban anyone on the federal no-fly list from buying a gun. That came in the wake of the terrible gay nightclub shooting in Orlando and—as proponents admitted—it would have had no effect on the Florida gunman’s ability to legally purchase weapons.
Also missing, particularly for a lawyer such as Eric, was the constitutionally guaranteed due process. The feds can add a person to the list without any court action and, as people have learned, getting off such a list can be very difficult. There no process required with a body independent of law enforcement.
It was feel good legislation designed to make political points—nothing more.
Some elements of the Patriot Act have lessened freedoms and this would have done the same. What was interesting this time around was that it was the Democrats willing to ignore due process, while the Republicans were standing up for it—often those roles are reversed.
Such is politics in our capitol.

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