We wrote here, and numerous times thereafter, about Dick Durbin’s inexcusable attack on the American Legislative Exchange Council (“ALEC”). Durbin announced a hearing on “stand your ground” laws in his Senate Judiciary subcommittee, and, “blaming” ALEC for laws which have been enacted in 30 states and are supported by a solid plurality of voters, tried to bully ALEC’s corporate members, most of whom had nothing to do with gun issues. Durbin was widely denounced for his blatant attack on the First Amendment.
So now the time has come: Durbin’s controversial hearing will take place tomorrow. What witnesses will appear at the hearing? The leadoff witness is Trayvon Martin’s mother, even though everyone–except, possibly, Dick Durbin–understands that Florida’s stand your ground law played no part in that case. Other anti-gun witnesses are slated to appear, along with, to be fair, two pro-self defense witnesses, including John Lott, the foremost authority on the relationship between gun ownership and crime.
But there is one obvious omission: Durbin did not invite ALEC to appear. This was Durbin’s press release announcing the hearing:
Around 30 states currently have some form of “stand your ground” laws on the books. September’s hearing will examine the gun lobby’s and the American Legislative Exchange Council’s influence in creating and promoting these laws; the way in which the laws have changed the legal definition of self-defense; the extent to which the laws have encouraged unnecessary shooting confrontations; and the civil rights implications when racial profiling and “stand your ground” laws mix, along with other issues.
Emphasis added. Obviously, having announced a legislative hearing on ALEC’s “influence in creating and promoting these laws,” and having written to 300 corporate ALEC members and threatened them, implicitly at least, with Obama administration retaliation, minimal notions of fair play would require giving ALEC an opportunity to respond to Durbin’s smears. No such opportunity, however, has been afforded.
No one expects anything constructive from Dick Durbin, who is universally regarded as one of the dumbest Senators. But tomorrow’s hearing is one more reminder that Senate Democrats are interested not at all in public policy, and only in politically-motivated bullying.
UPDATE: Dick Durbin announced tonight that tomorrow’s hearing is cancelled and will be postponed indefinitely. It will be interesting to see whether Durbin actually reschedules the hearing, or takes the opportunity to forget the whole thing.