As some may know, there are a number of other things that will expire at the end of the year besides items related to the very, very, very gradual incline of fiscal doom that is obsessing so many beltway potentates.
One of these is the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). This landmark legislation will expire at the end of the year unless the House acts. The Senate strengthen the law to extend protections to undocumented immigrants, members of the LGBT community and Native Americans. Eric Cantor and the GOP might let the first two groups slide by, but he has a problem with the injuns.
Laws concerning Tribal Sovereignty create some grey legal zones when crimes are committed on Native American lands–especially when those are violent crimes committed by outsiders. There is an epidemic of rapes of Native American women (many, many of them by white men). And way, way too often, these despicable pieces of shit use the grey area of Tribal jurisdiction as a loop hole to avoid any prosecution for their crimes. The re-authorization of VAWA corrects this problems by giving Tribal Courts expanded authority to prosecute these violent crimes–even if the accused is a white predator just visiting Tribal lands. Eric Cantor, the House GOP Leadership and the modern conservative movement seem to have a problem with Tribal Courts prosecuting non-Native men for the crimes they commit (like raping Native American women) and so they are blocking a vote on the VAWA:
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the author of the Senate VAWA bill, went to the Senate floor on Thursday and plainly announced that House Republican leaders are blocking his bill “because of their objections to [the] … tribal provision.”
Leahy explained the provision, probably the least understood of the three additions in the Senate bill: It gives tribal courts limited jurisdiction to oversee domestic violence offenses committed against Native American women by non-Native American men on tribal lands. Currently, federal and state law enforcement have jurisdiction over domestic violence on tribal lands, but in many cases, they are hours away and lack the resources to respond to those cases. Tribal courts, meanwhile, are on site and familiar with tribal laws, but lack the jurisdiction to address domestic violence on tribal lands when it is carried out by a non-Native American individual. That means non-Native American men who abuse Native American women on tribal lands are essentially “immune from the law, and they know it,” Leahy said. [snip]
Of the Native American women who are raped, 86 percent of them are raped by non-Native men, according to an Amnesty International report. That statistic is precisely what the Senate’s tribal provision targets. [snip]
Cantor’s insistence on keeping the tribal jurisdictional provision out of VAWA has infuriated some backers of the Senate bill and elicited vows to prevent any VAWA bill from advancing that doesn’t protect all victims of abuse. Terry O’Neill, the president of the National Organization for Women and someone who regularly talks to people directly involved in VAWA negotiations, called Cantor’s stance “completely outrageous.”
“Who is Eric Cantor to say that it’s okay for some women to get beaten and raped?” O’Neill said. “If they happen to be Native women who are attacked by a non-Native man, as far as Eric Cantor is concerned, those women are tossed.”
As always, Cantor operates with twisted logic. He seems to think that it is better to protect rapists from prosecution than it is to let Native American Tribal Courts prosecute crimes committed on their Territory. Protection of white men from Tribal Court–regardless of their crimes–seems to be the the driver here. Cantor’s concern seems to be that it is rape today, but that this slippy slope of justice could lead to Tribal Courts prosecuting white men (or even corporations) for other crimes like land theft and environmental destruction tomorrow. Rapists must go free to protect profits. It fills me with a bit of rage.
Good thing that the entire Conservative “War on Women” thing doesn’t exist…
Oh, this site, will give you tools to contact Congress to support passage of the VAWA–with the protections for ALL women, including undocumented immigrants, members of the LGBT community and Native Americans.