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House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith and Senator-elect Mike Lee

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Today’s show featured conversations with incoming chair of the House Judiciary Committee Lama Smith as well as the man who will be the youngest senator in the United States Congress in January, Utah’s Mike Lee. The transcripts of both interviews will be posted at this link later.

Both men are thoughtful voices of the new Congress, and the transcripts of our conversations –which include topics such as the Dream Act, judicial pay and the filibuster– will be posted here later.

I am one of those Republicans who would like to see the Congress pass a much-modified version of the Dream Act conveying citizenship on illegal aliens who have been honorably discharged from the United States military. It isn’t a large number, but serving in wartime is the one shortcut to citizenship on which most of the country would quickly agree. Coupling that provision with authorization and funding for the rest of the border fence would be an even better idea.

The issue of judicial pay is another on which the GOP ought to lead as it is an originalist position as Senator-elect Lee explains. We also don’t want to lose experienced federal judges because they can make so much more money in the private sector. Some electeds fear making this argument but they ought not to. Doing the manifestly right thing by the judiciary is great policy and great policy is never bad politics. Filibuster reform in the Senate also deserves serious conversation and engagement from the GOP, provided that whatever rules are adopted remain the rules when a GOP president is in office. Getting the judical nomination process repaired is a worthy goal of the next Congress, though I think Leader McConnell might also require as part of any rewrite on the filibuster a candid admission from Harry Reid that the Democrats greatly abused the filibuster on judicial nominees throughout the Bush years.



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