Schumer calls for a D.O.J. investigation after the Trayvon Martin shooting, and echoes Santorum on Romneycare
Senator Charles Schumer said he was sending a letter to the Department of Justice asking them to expand their investigation of the Trayvon Martin case, and the so-called "stand your ground" laws that allowed neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman who has admitted killing Martin to avoid arrest.
In an appearance on "Face the Nation" Sunday morning, Schumer avoided delving too far into the specifics of the case, saying he was calling for an investigation "into the general application of these 'stand your ground' laws."
Schumer, a once-outspoken advocate of gun control with a long history of involvement in crime-fighting measures, made the case in law-enforcement terms.
"You know, Nora, I'm a law-enforcement Democrat, I have a lot of faith in our police and in our sheriffs, and I don't like a move toward vigilantism," he told the guest host Norah O'Donnell. "Bottom line is, had Mr. Zimmerman listened to the police when he called 911, and let them handle it, this would have had a better outcome."
Schumer called stand your ground laws "a whole new concept in our jurisprudence" and endorsed the possibility of congressional hearings.
"I hope so," he said. "I think that we should examine this law. They're all new. They've been passed very, very quickly. And I think the states who passed them, if they find out the real facts, may decide to repeal them."
It was a testament to the extraordinary resonance of the Trayvon Martin case that it was Topic A during the appearance by Schumer, the Democrats' point-senator on Supreme Court matters, one day before the court was scheduled to hear challenges to the president's landmark health care law.
Schumer has previously said he believes the timing of the case will help Democrats, based on the idea that if the court upholds the law this summer it will blunt conservative objections, and if the court strikes it down, it removes the issue from the campaign.
Yesterday, he said he believed the issue would be neutralized for Republicans anyway, since Mitt Romney's Massachusetts health care law is so similar to Obama's.
"If Mitt Romney is the nominee, the issue will be virtually taken off the table," Schumer said. "Let's remember, not only did he propose it in Massachusetts, but in 2009, when the health care debate was raging, he wrote an op-ed in USA Today and called on the president to adopt it, and called on the Congress to adopt it. And the president said our plan is modeled on the Massachusetts plan. So if Mitt Romney is the nominee and he tries to bring up health care, it's not going to work. He can run but he can't hide. It'll just increase the view that he's the Etch A Sketch president."
(Romney has promised to repeal the health care law.)
At the moment, this puts Schumer on the same side of an argument as Rick Santorum, who appeared before him on "Face the Nation," and said much the same thing about Romney's ability to attack OBama on health care.
"Heck, he created the blueprint for the government takeover of health care that President Obama followed," said Santorum, who vowed to keep fighting, despite a growing disadvantage in delegates.