Judiciary Committee Kisses and Makes Up

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What could possibly induce die-hard conservatives Bob Barr and Henry Hyde and confirmed liberals John Conyers and Barney Frank to pose together –- holding hands in "go team!" style, no less –- just four months after impeachment ended? Turns out it’s something like principles. The four former foes led the House of Representatives in a resounding rollback of the government’s right to confiscate the property based on pure suspicion –- like nabbing someone carrying a lot of cash because he might be dealing drugs. "During impeachment, Judiciary Committee members would always say that their reputation for contentiousness was overblown, that they were always working together quietly on other issues," says TIME congressional correspondent John Dickerson. "Here’s the proof."

The 375-48 passage of a measure backed by such rare bedfellows as the NRA and the ACLU was a loud rejection of both President Clinton, who backed a much-diluted version of the bill, and the Supreme Court, whose rulings have consistently declined to raise the bar for reasonable property seizure. Ultra-liberals like Frank saw it as a civil-rights issue; ultra-conservatives like Barr saw it as a chance to keep government power in check. Both sides were making it clear that in the war on drugs, all is not fair, and yea, there was bipartisan joy in the Judiciary Committee for the first time in memory. Sometimes, on some issues, we can all get along.