Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Durbin Seeks Revision of Independent-Counsel Law

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Durbin Seeks Revision of Independent-Counsel Law

Article excerpt

While some Democrats defended Attorney General Janet Reno's decision not to seek the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate campaign financing practices, others questioned the independence of the panel of federal judges that selects the counsels.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., introduced legislation Tuesday to limit the time a judge can serve on the panel to two years and to require the judiciary to establish rules for the selection and conduct of the judges.

"This process has been loaded to appoint Republican independent counsels," said Durbin, noting that 11 of the 15 independent counsels named under the current law have been Republicans. Those judges now serve two-year terms but can be reappointed by Chief Justice William Rehnquist. All three judges on the current panel have served more than two years; one has served seven years. "It would be much healthier to have frequent rotation, so you'll have a better mix," Durbin said. Durbin also called for ethical rules for the judges. …

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