Monday, September 16, 2013

Durbin's "Stand Your Ground" Hearings

Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights. As mentioned before, he plans to hold a hearing on so-called Stand Your Ground laws. He has entitled his hearings, "‘Stand Your Ground’ Laws: Civil Rights and Public Safety Implications of the Expanded Use of Deadly Force". This hearing is scheduled for tomorrow at 10am.

The witness list for the hearing has been published.
Sybrina Fulton
Miami, FL

Lucia McBath
Atlanta, GA

William N. Meggs
State Attorney
Second Judicial Circuit
Tallahassee, FL

Ronald S. Sullivan, Jr.
Clinical Professor of Law, Director of the Criminal Justice Institute
Harvard Law School
Cambridge, MA

John R. Lott, Jr., Ph.D.
Crime Prevention Research Center
Swarthmore, PA

Ilya Shapiro
Senior Fellow in Constitutional Studies
Cato Institute
Washington, DC
Sybrina Fulton really needs no introduction as she got more than her 15 minutes of fame during the George Zimmerman trial.

Lucia McBath was the mother of Jordan Davis who was killed in a confrontation in Jacksonville, FL by Martin Dunn. Mr. Dunn is charged with 1st Degree Murder in the case. Ms. McBath is concerned that Dunn will try to claim self-defense under Florida's "stand your ground" law.

Willie Meggs is the State Attorney (or DA) for the 2nd Judicial Circuit which includes the Tallahassee area of Florida. He is a well-known opponent of the Florida "Stand Your Ground" law and has called it "the dumbest law ever put on the books."

Ronald Sullivan is a Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. About the only thing I could find about regarding either Trayvon Martin or "Stand Your Ground" laws is that he spoke to a pro-Martin demonstration held by the Black Law Students Association at Harvard. He will also be a speaker on a panel  discussing "Guns, Violence, and Children" at the American Association of Law Schools conference in January 2014.

John Lott, of course, needs little introduction as he is one of the leading pro-gun researchers.

Ilya Shapiro is a Fellow at the libertarian Cato Institute. The Cato Institute has made Durbin's enemies list. In an article posted in August, Shapiro practically demanded Durbin include him in the list of speakers at this hearing.
This is unacceptable. Senator Durbin, care to invite me to testify at your little hearing? I rather enjoyed discussing Citizens United at the kabuki theatre you ran last year—though you seemed more interested in accusing me of being a pawn of the Koch brothers (with whom I have no beef, but who were actually suing Cato at the time)—and would be happy to have another tete-a-tete with my fellow University of Chicago Law School alum.
What will make this joke of a hearing even more interesting is that the Ranking Member for the Republican side is Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). While Durbin will rail on about the Koch Brothers, ALEC, and conservatives, I expect Cruz will be up to the challenge.


  1. With Lott, Shapiro and Cruz speaking, I am sure we will be in good hands! Im surprised Dick Turbin let them attend...

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  3. Irony, definition of:

    Putting Dick Durbin in charge of a committee whose responsibility is the U.S. Constitution.

    I take that back. That's not irony. That's contempt.