Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 7, 2016

Trayvon Martin Hearing Requests Draw ‘No Comment’ From Judiciary Chairman

House Judiciary Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte won’t comment on a request from Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez to have a hearing on the Trayvon Martin case. In fact, Goodlatte says he hasn’t even read the Illinois Democrat’s letter yet.

“I have not looked at that letter yet, and I do not have any comment at this time,” Goodlatte said Wednesday. Pressed further on whether he thought it would be appropriate for the committee to hold a hearing on the killing of the Florida teenager by a neighborhood watch volunteer, the Virginia Republican responded: “Thanks a lot. That’s all I have to say.”

On Monday, Gutierrez wrote a letter to Goodlatte requesting a hearing as soon as possible on “whether justice has been done, whether the underlying law is just, and whether federal legislation could help avoid another tragic death like the death of Trayvon Martin.”

When told that Goodlatte had not yet read his letter, Gutierrez said he wasn’t holding his breath.

“That does not surprise me since the Republicans here in the House of Representatives have decided that gun violence in America is not an issue they care to deal with,” Gutierrez said.

He said he wanted hearings not to question the judicial process, but to ask whether the nation could do better than the laws that let George Zimmerman go free.

On Saturday, a Florida jury found Zimmerman not guilty of second-degree murder or manslaughter in the February 2012 shooting death of the 17-year-old. The neighborhood watch volunteer argued he killed Martin in self-defense.

But Gutierrez said he doesn’t buy the story.

“Look: When a kid leaves his house to go buy some Skittles and a soda, and an armed adult kills him, and nobody is held responsible?” Gutierrez said, trailing off in disbelief. “Wow.”

“Stand your ground,” Gutierrez said mockingly. “Do you never retreat?”

In a Wednesday interview with MSNBC, Gutierrez, who is a member of the Judiciary Committee, also addressed recent comments about the case from another member of Congress.

Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., said in a radio interview this week that with all the problems facing the United States, American should not get “hung up on this one case.”

“That’s the way the American law system works. Get over it,” Harris said.

But Gutierrez made it clear he was not over it.

“I think the Congressman from Maryland is totally incorrect,” Gutierrez said.

On Tuesday, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., also weighed in on the case, saying, “without a shadow of a doubt,” the color of person’s skin doesn’t matter when it comes to justice.

“Lady Justice has a blindfold over her eyes because justice is colorblind. Justice shouldn’t look at the color of our skin or our ethnicity or our financial background,” Bachmann said. “Facts have to be recognized as facts. Law has to be recognized as law. … No matter if we are White or Black or Hispanic or Asian, whatever our background, justice must be served. That’s why we need to stand up and stand up for justice in this country, not have justice that is separate for Blacks or separate for Hispanics or separate for Whites.”

But Rep. Marcia L. Fudge, D-Ohio, the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus released a statement Wednesday that seemed to doubt the equal protection under the law that Bachmann lauded.

Fudge said it was “critical” that Congress “employ every strategy available to openly discuss the violations of justice and assumptions about race that led to the death” of Martin.

“Incidences like the Trayvon Martin tragedy occur much too often, but are never discussed,” the statement said. “We must get serious about acknowledging the impact racial profiling, gun violence and inequitable treatment under the law is having on our communities, and particularly on our young people. It is vital for healing in this nation and it is critical to putting policies in place that protect our future.”

  • Rumionemore

    Good for Goodlatte, but Holder is embarrassing himself – again.
    Many elected officials have legal backgrounds, still practice law and should know better than to comment negatively on the Zimmerman case.
    That’s why I was amazed (in a bad way) to hear Holder babbling on about the verdict. No one thinks it’s okay that a young man was needlessly shot and killed, but Holder’s grandstanding is insulting to jurors who gave their time and did their best with the charges they were given. People of both races need to put themselves in the jurors’ places. They left the courtroom sincerely believing they made a proper decision and that justice was done. Today fewer people than ever before are even qualified to be jurors. After the shameless circus staged by showboating protesters, jump-on-the bandwagon media and celebrities, and worst of all, Obama officials, how many U.S. citizens will even feel comfortable serving?

    • hepette

      bs what a bunch of bs………….YOU need to admit that racism is alive and well and think of a cogent plan to do something about it

      • Rumionemore

        Who with a brain would deny that? Sexism is also rampant. It’s never going to change – not in our lifetimes. It may improve, if people learn how to behave toward one another. When older generations die out, there may be less racism, but every race is prejudiced against someone else. And almost every human being I have ever known is prejudiced against something or someone. A person can only be responsible for himself or herself and should expect the same from others.

    • hepette

      JUROR 39

      • Rumionemore

        Have no idea what you are talking about.

  • HongryHawg

    Stirring the pot, stirring the pot. Keeping it simmering. Everything is going as planned.

    • hepette

      i guess you are a hog so how would you know………

  • Dan W

    Lets have a hearing on Trayvon. His school records released, his phone contents open for the public including all pictures, texts. Bring his little Bitches and put them on the stand to explain what the text say and the meaning. He was a wanta be that will never be.

    • hepette

      you are just so sickening……blaming the victim and embarrassing yourself like this

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