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Violence Against Women Act

Under S.47, ordinary American citizens with no connection to Indian tribes could be prosecuted and tried in Indian tribal courts, instead of U.S. criminal courts, for violations of this act. In 1978, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Indian tribes do not have inherent criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians; this brazenly unconstitutional bill directly contradicts this fundamental principle.

In addition, I object to provisions adding federal mandatory minimum sentences in domestic violence cases, which ought to be left to judges on a case by case basis. The Eagle Forum (a conservative women’s group) cites a similar Florida law which required a judge – against his better judgment – to send a mother of two to prison for 20 years for firing a warning shot at her abusive husband.

Finally, I object to using violence against women as an excuse to vastly expand a dizzying array of government grant programs, add more than $2 billion to the nation’s debt and generally insinuate the federal government into matters the Constitution clearly reserves to the states. Federal grants of all kinds (essentially gifts of public money with little or no oversight) are out of control and ought to be abolished — not expanded.