As I previously noted, the dissenting views to the House Judiciary Committee’s report on the Equal Justice for Our Military Act of 2010 makes a major mistake.  More than 1/3 of the dissenting views’ space is unwittingly devoted to an attack on a different reform proposal that isn’t part of the legislation at issue.

Two of the 13 members who signed onto the dissenting views–Congressmen Gohmert and Rooney–have served as Army judge advocates.  Congressman Rooney often touts his experience as a former law professor at West Point.

It should be immediately obvious to any past or present judge advocate that points 1-7 on pages 14-16 of the committee report aren’t addressed to the proposed expansion of Supreme Court cert jurisdiction, but rather address whether the CCAs’ Article 66 jurisdiction should be expanded to include courts-martial in which the accused isn’t sentenced to a punitive discharge or a year or more of confinement.  It should also be immediately obvious to anyone who has read the proposed Equal Justice for Our Military Act that the bill doesn’t affect the CCAs’ jurisdiction.

Here’s my serious question:  how do the names of two previous judge advocates, who should have instantly recognized that the dissenting views are seriously flawed, get included on those dissenting views?  I’m not familiar with the ways of Capitol Hill.  Does some staff member add their names without consulting the Congressmen?  Do the Congressmen authorize their names to be added without actually reading the dissenting views?  Is there another reasonable explanation that’s escaping me?

2 Responses to “The House Judiciary Committee report’s dissenting views: a serious question”

  1. RY says:

    If I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt,the dissenting views may be in anticipation of amendments before the full house. I wouldn’t be surprised if such an amendment was offered. If so, Republicans not on the House Judiciary Cmte would presumably be we acquainted w/the issue and thoughts of fellow Republicans in advance.

    That being said, it would seem to be a bit unusual to object to matters not yet part of the bill.

  2. Dwight Sullivan says:

    Romeo Yankee,

    The clause that introduces the dissenting views’ irrelevant seven points states: “Among the concerns and
    objections we note with respect to this and prior versions of this legislation are:” The seven points that follow address neither this version of the bill nor prior versions of the bill. Rather, they address a different suggested reform that isn’t and never has been in the Equal Justice for Our Military Act of 2010. So whoever put those seven points into the dissenting views wasn’t attempting to anticipate an argument but, rather, purported to be addressing something in current or previous versions of the bill.