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Dems say Judiciary Chair breaks rules, closes meeting after losing vote

Published: Wednesday June 28, 2006

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Chairman of the House Judiciary Committe F. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) has broken House rules to adjourn a meeting after losing a vote to Democrats, Democratic sources tell RAW STORY.

The vote was on an item from the Republican's "American Values Agenda," which the party says will codify "the American character." Specifically, it aims to bar any court--including the United States Supreme Court--from hearing any legal challenge to the pledge of allegiance.

Sensenbrenner, according to sources, hoped to reverse the vote when the committee reconvened later in the afternoon.

Democrats on the committee, save ranking member John Conyers (D-MI) refused to attend. With many Republicans also absent, there was no quorum present to hold a vote.

Conyers attended, according to sources, only for the sake of raising a point of order, indicating that the previous adjournment had violated rules. Sensenbrenner responded by indicating that he had not heard the objection earlier. However, sources tell RAW STORY that Sensenbrenner actually responded to the earlier statement at the time.

RAW STORY hopes to make a transcript available shortly.

The committee was again adjourned, and is likely to reconvene Thursday. Whether or not they hold another vote remains to be seen, however sources tell RAW STORY that it is likely to happen. Several Republicans on the committee did not cast a vote in the first round.