The good news is Senate Democrats defeated an amendment introduced by Republicans that would have stripped protections for Native American women from the Violence Against Women Act. The bad news is Senators Tom Coburn and John Cornyn believe protecting Native women from being raped is “unconstitutional” and a “special interest.”
“What we’ve done with this solution is to trample on the Bill of Rights of every American who’s not a Native American,” Coburn said. “And I have no doubt — I am a hundred percent certain that this portion of the bill is going to be thrown out by the first federal judge that hears it.” [...]
Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) said the provision was a product of the “unconstitutional demands of special interests,” characterizing it as the reason for his opposition to the bill.
To say this ‘tramples on the rights of non-native Americans’ is to say that we’re trampling on the rights of rapists and domestic abusers to commit rape and beat their girlfriends without consequence which, last time I checked, is not included in the Bill of Rights. Maybe I should read it again to make sure I didn’t miss that part.
As we’ve covered here before, Native American women are twice as likely to be raped as other women and the overwhelming majority of attackers who assault and abuse Native Americans are non-native, American men who do not fall within the jurisdiction of local tribes.
In some rural villages, rapes are 12 times more common than the national rate, and for Native American women, generally sexual assault is more than twice as common as the national average, according to The New York Times. The Alaska Federation of Natives cites a 2010 report by the University of Alaska Anchorage Justice Center, finding that while only 15.2 percent of Alaskans are Native American, they are the victims of 50 percent of the domestic violence and 61 percent of the sexual assaults committed in the state. [...]
The men who commit these crimes are often not Native American themselves. Indian Country reports that “non-Indians commit 88%” of rapes and domestic violence against Native American women, but they are beyond the reach of local justice: “antiquated jurisdictional laws” prevent tribal justice systems “from prosecuting non-Native criminals.”
A “special interest.”
No thanks to Republicans, Senate Democrats passed the Violence Against Women Act today by a margin of 78 to 22. And the question once again is this — will Republican leadership in the House allow the bill to come to a vote? The bill will pass if they allow it to be voted on, but
Speaker Majority Leader Eric Cantor still has a host of objections and perceived slights.
Update… Marco Rubio, the GOP’s next great hope, voted against the Act today along with 21 other Republican men. All Republican women in the Senate voted for the act.
I’m sure this is all a part of their outreach effort.