Juvenile Justice: Reform after One Hundred Years

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Congressman Bobby Scott, Congressman Bill McCollum, and Mr. Mark Soler Moderated by Professor Chai Feldblum October 14, 1999 Georgetown University Law Center

ADRIANA RODRIGUEZ: Our moderator for this panel is Chai Feldblum, Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center. At Georgetown, Professor Feldblum has established the Federal Legislation Clinic and has served as the Clinic's director since its inception. We are honored to have her join us today. Thank you.

CHAI FELDBLUM: This panel is about legislation. Policy decisions about juvenile justice are increasingly made at the federal level. Although, of course, narrowly crime is a state concern, it is something that the federal Congress has taken up. We have here, truly, probably the best people you could hear from on what the federal Congress is thinking about in terms of juvenile justice; getting a glimpse from two of the main people on the Hill responsible for this work and from a very active and engaged advocate working on these issues.

We have to my immediate left, Congressman Bobby Scott. Congressman Scott represents the Third District of Virginia, which includes counties from James River, Norfolk, down to Richmond. He graduated law school in 1973 and entered Congress in 1992. He is on the House Judiciary Committee, and he is the ranking minority member of the House Subcommittee on Crime. Ranking minority member meaning he is the most senior Democrat on that subcommittee and the one most responsible for working with the other Democrats on the Committee. His legislative interests include healthcare coverage, educational opportunities, and passing legislation as he put it, at least in the piece I got from his office, "to prevent crime before it occurs."

To the left of Congressman Scott, although not necessarily always in the way he votes, is Congressman Bill McCollum, who represents the Eighth Congressional District of Florida which includes Orlando. Congressman McCollum graduated law school in 1968, practiced law for about ten years, and was elected to Congress in 1980. He, too, is on the House Judiciary Committee, and he is the Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Crime. As a Republican, with the Republicans controlling the House, Congressman McCollum is the Chair of the House Subcommittee on Crime and is, therefore, the foremost person within the Republican Congress on dealing with issues of crime, drugs, federal prisons, and criminal procedure.

To the left of Congressman McCollum is Mr. Mark Soler. Mark graduated law school in 1973, started working at the Youth Law Center just a few years after that in 1978 as a staff attorney. He clearly found his home because he has not left. He became the Executive Director of the Youth Law Center and, in 1994, became its President and started working in the Center's newly opened office in Washington D.C. That is, they figured he needed to come here to talk to people like Congressman McCollum and Congressman Scott. In fact, that is what Mark has been doing, working with Congress and federal agencies on national juvenile justice policy issues. I hope you can tell from this introduction that you have the best people you could hear from, and are incredibly lucky to be able to have this panel talk about issues of juvenile justice in the federal Congress. We will start as befits the situation with the Chair of the Subcommittee, Congressman McCollum.

CONGRESSMAN MCCOLLUM: Well, thank you very, very much Chai. I, first of all, want to say it is a great thrill to be over here. Georgetown's Law School has a fabulous reputation nationally, and to be here with you at Georgetown is a pleasure. And, it is especially a pleasure to talk about juvenile crime and juvenile justice because I think it is at the leading, cutting edge of all of the criminal law that we are dealing with today. It is the central, focal point of what all of us want to accomplish.

Well, why am I in Congress? …

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