Eighty-two Republican members of the House of Representatives are calling for the immediate resignation of the American Bar Assn.'s president for referring to some members of Congress as "reptilian bastards."
In a letter to ABA President George Bushnell, a Detroit lawyer, the GOP members called his phrase "a reprehensible and unforgivable insult" to House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) and other Republicans.
At the ABA's national convention in Miami, Bushnell last week labeled as "reptilian bastards" those in Congress seeking to slash funding for the Legal Services Corp., which helps the poor obtain legal representation.
Asked for comment Friday, Bushnell gave no indication that he would resign. He called the controversy regrettable, but said his "strong and passionate" remarks "were aimed only at those who would blithely eliminate or restrict funding for the Legal Services Corp., thereby denying millions of Americans the dignity of justice."
Led by Rep. Michael P. Forbes (R-N.Y.), the 82 members of Congress who signed the letter sent to Bushnell on Thursday said: "We work in a place where people disagree every day, but we are simply aghast at such an uncivilized comment from someone in the public eye who just happens to disagree with us on an issue."