Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization: Don’t Let that Pesky Constitution Stand in the Way of a Law With a Nice-Sounding Title
Senators “will let legislation on domestic violence” known as the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act “pass the upper chamber despite having concerns about its constitutionality,” reports The Hill newspaper. That includes a provision backed by Democrats “empowering American-Indian tribal authorities to prosecute” non-Indians.
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), a member of the Judiciary Committee, said he was “really taken back by some of the changes in laws dealing with Indian reservations,” calling it “unacceptable and very bad policy.”
A Republican aide cited a Congressional Research Service report that warned expanding the prosecutorial power of tribal authorities could violate constitutional guarantees on due process and double jeopardy.
UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh yesterday raised additional civil liberties problems with the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization, arguing that the changes made to the existing VAWA statute by Senate Democrats violate First Amendment free speech guarantees [first, second posts]. Volokh is one of the law professors most frequently cited by federal judges and America’s law reviews, and the author of two First Amendment textbooks, The First Amendment and Related Statutes (4th ed. 2011), and The Religion Clauses and Related Statutes (2005). To Read More…..