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Republicans walk out of House hearing on Patriot Act

[JURIST] GOP House Judiciary Committee [official website] Chairman James Sensenbrenner abruptly adjourned a Committee hearing on the Patriot Act Friday, leaving Democrats objecting into dead air after their microphones had been turned off. The hearing [agenda] had been called at the request of Democrats, who had also invited the witnesses, including James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute and Chip Pitts, Chair of the Board of Amnesty International USA. Sensenbrenner said that the testimony, much of which ended up turning on treatment of US terror detainees as Guantanamo Bay, was irrelevant, ended the proceeding and walked out with fellow Republicans in tow. House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi issued a statement afterwards saying that "Chairman Sensenbrenner proved again today that he is afraid of ideas, and that Republicans will stop at nothing to silence Democrats. It is quite ironic that at a hearing on the impact of the Patriot Act on civil liberties, the Republicans attempted to suppress free speech." AP has more. Watch a video clip of the end of the hearing [WMP] via Dem Bloggers.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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