Action in House to limit use of civil forfeiture by Sessions


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Several congressmen have submitted amendments to the appropriations bill that funds the Justice Department that would nullify the effort by Attorney General Jeff Sessions to increase the use of civil forfeiture.

[F]our amendments have been submitted to the House Rules Committee for consideration that would defund Sessions’ directive. It’s not clear which amendment if any will be considered when the consolidated appropriations bill, H.R. 3354, reaches the House floor likely late next week.

Reps. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) and Warren Davidson (R-Ohio) have submitted separate amendments that would prohibit the Department of Justice from using funds for adoptive seizures. Two bipartisan amendments, one submitted by Reps. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) and Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and another by Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) and Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), would prevent funding from being used to implement Sessions’ directive.

The Amash and Davidson amendments are more comprehensive and are not limited to Sessions’ directive. In fact, these amendments would leave the minor safeguards provided under Sessions’ changes in place. The bipartisan amendments aren’t as comprehensive, although they’re still better than the status quo. [emphasis mine]

As is typical of this Republican Congress, there appears to be no strong support by the party’s leadership for these amendments, as indicated by the highlighted words. This lack of support is further indicated by this quote:

Legislation has been introduced to increase the standard at the federal level to clear and convincing evidence and provide more protections for property owners who contest a seizure in federal court. Unfortunately, these bills — Rep. Walberg and Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration (FAIR) Act and Rep. Sensenbrenner’s DUE PROCESS Act — are awaiting action in their respective committees, and there’s no guarantee of action. [emphasis mine]

What I find encouraging is that the weak Republican leadership is increasingly under pressure from its rank and file to move rightward. They might not want to, or they might be afraid to (being political cowards), but the trend continues in the right direction. And I believe that this conservative trend will accelerate, after there are more Republican victories in the 2018 elections.

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3 comments

  • Commodude

    Legislation has been introduced to increase the standard at the federal level to clear and convincing evidence and provide more protections for property owners who contest a seizure in federal court. Unfortunately, these bills — Rep. Walberg and Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration (FAIR) Act and Rep. Sensenbrenner’s DUE PROCESS Act — are awaiting action in their respective committees, and there’s no guarantee of action. [emphasis mine]

    Once a bill has been “referred to committee” with no support from the party hierarchy, it’s dead. Not on life support, dead.

    It would require a discharge petition from the floor of the House with a majority of members signing the petition. It has happened 4 times since 1985. Given the current establishment cowards representing us in the House, I hold out little hope that this violation of freedom is ended.

  • ken anthony

    These cowards still don’t realize that the public has awakened. The midterms will be their wake-up call

  • Cotour

    Some reason out of Congress:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/congress-civil-asset-forfeiture_us_59b92315e4b0edff9717ea65?ncid=inblnkushpmg00000009

    Civil forfeiture bad, the only thing long term that can result is abuse of power. Period.

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