From an article by Alan Parker in the August issue of Trial, the monthly magazine of the Association of Trial Lawyers:

The {congressional} committee system by its very nature is a bottleneck. It has been carefully molded, shaped and refined over the 200-year history of our Republic. Congressional committees have investigative and oversight obligations; they also funnel bills to the floor.

In recent years, however, this carefully crafted system has come unraveled. Today the object is to legislate quickly and to use any means to achieve one's end -- a year-end continuing resolution, budget resolution or whatever -- any way to escape the time-consuming regular process. . . .

The committees are engaged in fashioning public policy of a higher order, policy that is meant to endure. They should not be stampeded by emotional efforts to amend the Constitution or to enact laws that would threaten constitutional principles. The Congress should not react reflexively to every perceived crisis or unpopular court decision that comes along, no matter how loud or passionate the cry for a quick fix. . . .

Not nearly enough time is spent in unearthing the facts. Is there really a problem? Is the only way to fix it federal legislation? Legislation feeds on itself. The more bills Congress enacts, the more it needs to enact to correct the mistakes it made and the problems it created in the first legislation. . . .

A sort of feeding-frenzy feeling comes over me when I watch Congress as work these days. It would be wise of the members to slow down, refuse to be stampeded by whatever mediagenic pressures are being applied, and do what great legislative bodies do well -- deliberate