In 2003, U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee's public confirmation hearings on judicial appointments. Opposed to the elevation of Judge Richard Wesley to the federal bench was Center for Judicial Accountability's Elena Ruth Sassower, who sought the approval of the committee to testify about Wesley's alleged conflicts of interest when he was judge of New York's Court of Appeals.
However, Chambliss had adopted strict rules that would prevent qualified critics from challenging his predetermined selections to the federal court.
Denied the opportunity to formally participate, Sassower rose from her seat as Chambliss was adjourning the public meeting and requested permission to make a statement. Whereupon Chambliss immediately ordered her arrested, charging her with "Disruption of Congress" for which she was imprisoned for six months.
This extraordinary sentence was imposed to not only silence Sassower but dissuade others from exercising their constitutional right to redress government on legitimate issues affecting the public welfare.
For a brief description of the Sassower trial, see: http://www.tulanelink.com/tulanelink/sassower_04a.htm.
For a detailed presentation of events leading up to and including the Sassower incarceration, refer to the Center for Judicial Accountability at: