September 11, 2008

Fred Strebeigh on Joe Biden: "Ladies' Man: The backslapping, bloviating hero of women's rights."

Great article in the New Republic about the genesis of the Violence Against Women Act. Read the whole thing. I want to highlight the fact that a central figure in the story, Victoria Nourse, went on to become a lawprof at the University of Wisconsin.
The late '80s, Biden noticed, showed a rise in violent crimes against young women. Then, in December 1989, a man walked into a university classroom in Montreal with a hunting rifle, divided the students by sex, yelled that the women were all "a bunch of feminists," and killed 14 of them. Biden's aide Ron Klain handed the Senator an article in the Los Angeles Times by a friend who had clerked with Klain the year before at the Supreme Court, Lisa Heinzerling (now professor of law at Georgetown). Heinzerling connected that murder of "feminists" to a gap in U.S. law. Federal law tracking hate crimes targeted only, she wrote, a "victim's race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation." Thus, she argued, "if a woman is beaten, raped or killed because she is a woman, this is not considered a crime of hate"--a legal loophole "welcome to no one but the misogynist."

Biden posed a challenge to [his staffer Victoria] Nourse: figure out what Congress should do, and start by looking at the marital-rape issue he had tried to tackle a decade earlier.....

Looking for a solution, Nourse drafted a proposal for the "Civil Rights for Women" section of what would become VAWA.... The goals of the civil rights section were grand: make women "free from crimes of violence motivated by the victim's gender." But its method was more modest: give victims of such violence the right to sue their attackers in federal court. Nourse grounded the section constitutionally both in the equal-protection guarantee of the Fourteenth Amendment and in the Commerce clause (partly via language echoing the Civil Rights Act of 1964, itself upheld by the Court under the Commerce clause).

Even before Biden introduced VAWA at Senate hearings on June 20, 1990, Nourse began seeking allies among women's groups in New York and Washington, D. C. Both she and Biden recall that "inside the-beltway women's groups" did not leap to assist. In Promises to Keep, Biden quotes one group member replying, "Oh, Victoria, you're a nice little girl, but you work for Joseph Biden. Why should we believe you?" Such distrust, he thought, came because he was not "pure" in his support for abortion--opposing federal funding of abortion though supporting a woman's right to choose....
Ultimately, the Supreme Court struck down that statutory right of action, saying that it did not fit under the Commerce Clause -- it didn't regulate any commercial activity -- and it didn't fit under the 14th Amendment -- because the 14th Amendment only deals with state action.
Joe Biden may have lost in a titanic struggle to expand the civil rights of women. But, along the way, he showed himself ready to follow the lead of female attorneys and judges. As Victoria Nourse told me in a recent e-mail from her desk at Emory Law School, where she is now a professor: "[I]n a day and age when Senators were still fondling interns in the Senate elevator, he not only protected me, he listened to me, my legal advice, and by extension, all the women who talked to me."

No one can pretend that getting Biden as vice president lifts women's spirits as high as they may go with the election of the first woman president. But no one will doubt that, on that wet day on the slippery Supreme Court steps, beneath his senatorial umbrella, Joe Biden was there--trying to stand tall for the rights of women.

78 comments:

knox said...

But no one will doubt that, on that wet day on the slippery Supreme Court steps, beneath his senatorial umbrella, Joe Biden was there--trying to stand tall for the rights of women.

LOL! Sorry that sentence is just weird and melodramatic.

vbspurs said...

"Oh, Victoria, you're a nice little girl, but you work for Joseph Biden. Why should we believe you?"

Exchange Joe Biden for George Bush, and that's the story of my life.

Harwood said...

VAWA, another wrongheaded piece of legislation.

Last time I checked, it was already illegal to walk into a university classroom with a hunting rifle and kill all the women.

If a deranged woman shot all the males, would they be any less dead? Would it do any good to pass a Violence Against Men Act?

Ann Althouse said...

Yes, the issue is whether it should be federalized.

Simon said...

"Joe Biden may have lost in a titanic struggle to expand the civil rights of women. But, along the way, he showed himself ready to follow the lead of female attorneys and judges."

That's one way to put it. Another, less flattering, way to put it is that Joe Biden has a proven track record of disregarding the Constitutional limits on federal power when it suits his policy agenda. Is that someone we want a heartbeat away from the Presidency?

Simon said...

Ann Althouse said...
"Yes, the issue is whether it should be federalized."

Whether it should, and whether it can be federalized within the existing grant of power to Congress. The "can" is about federalism; the "should" is about subsidiarity.

Dogwood said...

And federalizing such crimes does what, exactly?

Sounds more like a feel good bill than anything else.

Murder is already illegal and you can already sue in state courts for damages, correct?

I'm not an attorney, so please enlighten me if you can what additional protection, if any, this law provided.

TMink said...

"The goals of the civil rights section were grand: make women "free from crimes of violence motivated by the victim's gender."

Those aren't grand goals, they are psychotic grandiosity.

Trey

Joe said...

If Biden were so concerned, why didn't he leave the US Senate and run for state office where he could change the law at a local level?

Unfortunately, both Republicans and Democrats in Washington forget the designed limits of their office.

Seven Machos said...

I'm not really sure what good this law would have done, its constitutionality notwithstanding. What new rights does it avail plaintiffs that aren't already available at the state level?

Still further, the law is the many flaws of modern leftism enshrined: if we just add enough civil procedure and give the federal government enough power, and make everything uniform everywhere, our problems will be solved.

Simon said...

"Subsidiarity is the 'should we' to the 'can we' of federalism." Or something.

Dave TN said...

I really wish someone in favor of these hate crime laws would make a coherent argument on how they would be effective. Does anyone believe the nutcase in Montreal would have acted differently if a law was on the books in Canada?

"I will get life in prison or the death penalty if I kill this women. But as long as no one can sue me in federal court, I might as well go for it."

Trooper York said...

"But no one will doubt that, on that wet day on the slippery Supreme Court steps, beneath his senatorial umbrella, Joe Biden was there--trying to stand bald for the rights of women."

I don't think it is nice to make fun of the Senator like that. He's a sensitive guy.

Seven Machos said...

I wonder what the sum of Montreal guy's assets were. I hate to stereotype but, as a rule, the going-postal set doesn't usually have a lot of wealth.

AJ Lynch said...

The article was written why? To puff up Joe Biden or was his part in the story just a sidebar.

(your link was broken).

Seven Machos said...

This Biden guy...is he up for some federal post? I see his name randomly in the news.

Dogwood said...

DaveTN,

Yes, there really are people who believe if you pass just one more law, then bad people will stop doing bad things.

Just. One. More. Law. Almost there.

Simon said...

By the way, if anyone wants to know why I'm fond of Justice Souter, his dissent in Morrison - the case striking down VAWA - is a good example of why. Although I often disagree with him (including in this case), he is a wonderfully clear and lucid writer.

Lem said...

In some circles the ultimate punishment of death is said to have no, zero, zip effect deterring people from committing death penalty crimes.

But the same people turn around and argue for “hate crime” legislation.

It seems to me that if people are going to check the laws before committing a crime they will duly notice the possibility of a death sentence, as opposed to extra time in jail.

Lem said...

This Biden guy...is he up for some federal post? I see his name randomly in the news.

LOL

LutherM said...

ANN;
For some reason, I had the idea that Law Professors, even lawyers in general, were supposed to support the Constitution.
If I correctly read your posting, Senator Biden and current Professor Nourse are praised for drafting and getting passed a bill which, when it became law, was held unconstitutional.
I realize that The New Republic has never been concerned with the lack of constitutionality of any policy or bill, if, in their opinion, they favor the action.

If you disagree with the Supreme Court's opinion, say so, and explain why.
If, however, you believe that U.S. v Morrison was correctly decided, then what credit attaches to the Senator and the Professor?
In terms of a Law School exam, do Biden and Nourse get a "C" for the "Violence Against Women Act"?
Your posting looked like you gave them at least a "B+".

Lem said...

Biden is a stealth fighter.

rhhardin said...

The notion that it's possible for a husband to rape his wife is responsible for the worst legal mischief.

The correct charge is assault.

Rape is a crime against feminine modesty, which a wife does not have in relation to her husband.

Seven Machos said...

Rape is a crime.

It's not really that hard to imagine a scenario when a husband could rape a wife.

Michael said...

As soon as I read it, I knew the right wing nuts here would leap at the chance to deflate any notion Biden just might be someone who would fight for women...or anything for that matter.

Joe: "If Biden were so concerned, why didn't he leave the US Senate and run for state office where he could change the law at a local level?"

Simon: "Joe Biden has a proven track record of disregarding the Constitutional limits on federal power when it suits his policy agenda."

ajlynch : "The article was written why? To puff up Joe Biden or was his part in the story just a sidebar."

Fen said...

The Violence Against Women Act? In the 1994 Crime Bill?

The one that says Paula Jones has a right to establish a pattern of sexual predation in the workplace on the part of Clinton?

The act which explains why its not "just about sex" to ask Monica if she was coerced? That's what the Dems are puffing their chest about? Hillarious.

Because their love of VAWA was situational back in the 90's. Or course, with them, what isn't.

Michael said...

rhhardin said..."The notion that it's possible for a husband to rape his wife is responsible for the worst legal mischief. The correct charge is assault. Rape is a crime against feminine modesty, which a wife does not have in relation to her husband."

This has to be one of the strangest comments I've ever encountered, especially considering this is a site run by a law professor.

You actually do not believe a man could rape his own wife...because such an act of violence "is a crime against feminine modesty, which a wife does not have in relation to her husband."

A wife retains no "feminine modesty" because she's married to her husband?

What the hell are you saying here?

Michael said...

fen: Where do you see anything about the Democrats "puffing their chest?"

Bruce Hayden said...

Let's see if I understand VAWA right. You have two sexes, the first much more likely to be the victim of violence than the second. So, in order to toady up to the second, you increase the sanctions for violence against the second sex, the sex that is significantly less likely to be victims of violence. Makes perfect sense of me. No wonder Biden things of himself as so smart.

Adding insult to injury, if the Montreal shootings had been in many of our states, the shooter would be on death row, or already executed. Of course, if the enhancement had been drawing and quartering before the lethal injection, then it might have made sense.

Simon said...

Michael said...
"This has to be one of the strangest comments I've ever encountered, especially considering this is a site run by a law professor."

Are you suggesting that a law professor should have a censorious attitude, deleting comments that they disagree with? If not, why should a comment left here by someone other than Althouse reflect on her?

vnjagvet said...

Joe Biden is a fine legislator from Delaware. He represents his constituency well and has been elected time after time by them to continue to do so.

I think he should be allowed to continue his estimable service to the State of Delaware.

rhhardin said...

You'd think, furthermore, that the feminist line would be to eliminate the charge of rape entirely, as belittling to women; rougly the line thay feminine modesty does not exist but is a patriarchal invention, namely the woman as delicate flower.

Seven Machos said...

Don't drop the soap if you ever end up in prison, RH.

Joe said...

As soon as I read it, I knew the right wing nuts here would leap at the chance to deflate any notion Biden just might be someone who would fight for women

You miss the point; my argument is that the fights Biden choose to fight was not one a Senator is supposed to fight by design of the Constitution. I also observed that this affliction is common amongst federal elected officials.

Pogo said...

I shudder to think we are in for a decade or so of such laws, now found constitutional, which march us relentlessly toward yet another hideous failure of a lefty utopia.

Michael said...

Simon asks: "Are you suggesting that a law professor should have a censorious attitude, deleting comments that they disagree with?"

No, what did I say that would imply anything of the kind? I didn't ask to to delete or even comment on anything.

My comment was in reference such a bizarre comment appearing on a blog run by a law professor, and probably frequented by lawyers who would find the comment rather hard to believe.

Why are you such a suckass?

rhhardin said...

I think feminism needed the female oppression flavor of rape, and took its delicate flower penalty.

Rape would be replaced by assault, in what I consider the correctly feminist line.

As it should be, in marriage.

Michael said...

Joe, Ever consider the possibility Biden just saw it as something he felt strongly about and wanted to fight the fight?

Of course not.

Michael said...

rhhardin: "Rape would be replaced by assault, in what I consider the correctly feminist line."

Rape is an assault.

A violent assault.

Semantics aside, what the hell is your point...that you just don't like the word?

rhhardin said...

Well, whether a husband can rape his wife (or is it assault) came up in the courts in the late 70s or early 80s, because I remember reading about it. Wm Buckley argued my position, or rather me his now; in National Review.

Simon said...

Michael, you are trying to escape from what you wrote. The clear import of questioning the appearance of something on a blog written by a law professor is to ask why a law professor would allow such a thing to appear on their blog. You resist that conclusion by suggesting that one could suppose a law professor would have a certain kind of audience, but that's an odd thing to say. If this were a blawg, it might follow that its readers were primarily lawyers (although it doesn't follow that lawyers wouldn't say things such as the comment you objected to, so even by your own terms you're out of luck), but Althouse has never been a blawg and I think its author has no desire to write a blawg. I think she's much happier writing about whatever eclectic mix of topics she wants to, and has built a diverse following as a result.

rhhardin said...

But they don't charge assault. They charge rape, which is another thing entirely, when a husband is involved.

Simon said...

Michael said...
"Joe, Ever consider the possibility Biden just saw it as something he felt strongly about and wanted to fight the fight?"

You're missing Joe's point. Joe's not saying that Biden didn't really want to fight the fight, he's saying that that isn't a fight that a U.S. Senator can fight, and that Biden should have ran for office in the unit of government that has jurisdiction over the thing he felt strongly over. It's not enough - indeed, it's a violation of one's oath of office - to say "to hell with the Constitution, I feel strongly about this."

dick said...

I really wonder why there are even hate crime laws. Their purpose just seems to take the penalty dished out now and add to it. And then the same people who want them go on vigils for people convicted of the same crime for a non-hate basis. Just make the punishment fit the crime in the first place and be done with it. Adding on a hate ramification should really do nothing. If the crime happens in a deserted area late at night with no witnesses how can you prove hate or non-hate in the first place.

Michael said...

Simon, I have NO idea what you're trying to say.

I wasn't asking Ann to do anything.
I don't think she should be telling anybody anything about what they write or think. I don't think she should take ANY comments down, no matter hos insane they may sound, mine included.

I was just commenting on the fact that rhhardin posted a comment that (at least to ME) was so ridiculous (considering how many husbands have been convicted of raping their own wives) that I thought it rather strange that anyone would post such a strange opinion...considering the blog is run by a "law professor."

If you think his comment is on the mark and wouldn't offend anyone with even a cursory appreciation or understanding of law...so be it.

And please, quit sucking up to Ann. We ALL know you like her, and I'm sure she likes you, too.

Simon said...

I didn't say that I think RHH's "comment is on the mark and wouldn't offend anyone with even a cursory appreciation or understanding of law," I said that the idea that it was weird that it appear on a law professor's blog is deeply odd, and must therefore should be deprecated in favor of a more rational explanation. My apologies for forgetting Hanlon's Razor.

Michael said...

Dick says: "I really wonder why there are even hate crime laws."

Well, that's probably why people have been arguing about them for years on end.

My assumption is that some crimes are so specifically directed at people who are "hated" by the perpetrator, and unrelated to anything but that "hatred," we have laws associated with such crimes...and heavier punishment is applied to dissuade them from happening.

I don't know if the laws help or are even necessary, but I guess if you were gay or if your child or a good friend was gay, and someone did what they did to Matthew Shepard, you might see things differently.

Until you or I walk in the shoes of one who is gay, black or whatever (and I have no idea if you fit any of the bills)...it's easy for us to dismiss the notion of a "hate crime" as being unnecessary.

sean said...

Returning to the highlighted point, it is interesting to note that I went to law school with Victoria Nourse, though I have completely lost touch with her. So that is one degree of separation between Prof. Althouse and me.

Michael said...

Simon: Personally, and this is MY opinion...I think someone posting a comment that says "Rape is a crime against feminine modesty, which a wife does not have in relation to her husband"...on a blog run by a law professor, and
(I assume) frequented by lawyers...is somewhat strange.

Period.

Now, please...move on, Dude.

Michael said...

Sean, six more and you'll be sitting next to Kevin Bacon.

dick said...

I am gay and I do not see things differently at all. What I meant was that the concept of labeling something a hate crime is so open to being used when it ws not a hate crime at all makes it totally meaningless.

Let's say you are out late at night and you are drunk and you mug somebody to get money for another drink. If the guy you mug is gay then you should be punished more severely than if he were straight? Why? Punish him for the crime he committed and forget the whole hate component. It is possible to prove that a crime was committed but unless you are able to read the mind of a criminal without any chance of being wrong then you cannot justify the concept of hate crimes.

BTW is it a hate crime for a bunch of gay guys to mug and rob a straight guy because he is a breeder? Would you make that a hate crime as well or would that not be a hate crime.

Michael said...

Simon, are we speaking different languages?

You say: "You're missing Joe's point. Joe's not saying that Biden didn't really want to fight the fight, he's saying that that isn't a fight that a U.S. Senator can fight..."

And you base this on what?

Senators are limited to fighting specific causes?

I didn't say Biden was required to fight the fight as a Senator or that as a Senator he should. I merely said that maybe he just wanted to fight the fight, because he saw the merit in the woman's request...and did it...as a human being.

And what are you or Joe (based on your assumption) basing this on?

"...he's saying that that isn't a fight that a U.S. Senator can fight..."

Lawgiver said...

Until you or I walk in the shoes of one who has been hit by an uninsured motorist (and I have no idea if you even drive)...it's easy for us to dismiss the notion of mandatory auto insurance.

What a hoot!

dick said...

I am just sick and tired of groups who claim that they want the same rights as every body else and be treated the same way as everybody else but then say that if someone hurts them they should be punished twice as severely because it was a hate crime. That means you would not be treated the way you claim you want to be treated. Makes no sense to me. Either you want the same treatment or you want to be treated as if you were wrapped in cotton padding.

Michael said...

Dick asks: "BTW is it a hate crime for a bunch of gay guys to mug and rob a straight guy because he is a breeder? Would you make that a hate crime as well or would that not be a hate crime."

I'm not an attorney, I just mugging and robbing throws things out the window.

If they merely killed or assaulted the person "because he is a breeder" it might fit.

Ask Ann...she'd know for sure.

*Or hell, ask Simon...he knows everything.

Michael said...

lawgiver, that was cute, but the insurance part makes no sense unless the victim lives.

Otherwise it be...moot.

Hoot.

Simon said...

Michael said...
"Senators are limited to fighting specific causes?"

Are you kidding? Yes! Senators qua Senators are "limited to fighting specific causes"! Do you understand the concept of "limited government" not a whit?

Trooper York said...

Good job RH.

You freaked someone else out and you didn't even mention a chicken!

Hee,hee.

j said...

How does suing these guys help any woman? I suspect very few are financially solvent to begin with. And after prosecution, they won't have a pot to piss in.

I rather see more aggressive criminal prosecution, long sentences, and more vigorous application of the death penalty.

Fen said...

Are you kidding? Yes! Senators qua Senators are "limited to fighting specific causes"! Do you understand the concept of "limited government" not a whit?

No wonder Micheal so wrongly believes Obama has more experience than Palin - he skipped Civics 101.

Hey Micheal, how are those 57 states doing for your electoral math?

rcocean said...

The idea that a Husband can't be charged with Rape is an old one and is rooted in English Common law. Hence, it is not "Strange". The current position is a new one that only became widely accepted in 1970s.

Rape is generally considered a "Worse" crime than simple assault and is punished more heavily.

Finally, Althouse is attempting the impossible - you can't make "Slow Joe" interesting - even if you drag sex and violence in.

RS said...

Women Want Safety, not Biden's Abuse of Power

Senator Joe Biden proudly proclaims that he was beaten with impunity by his sister as a youth. This is the same sister that raised his two sons after his wife and daughter were killed in an auto accident.

Biden has often claimed that the Violence against Women Act is the greatest achievement of his career. Yet he fails to recognize the role women play as  perpetrators of domestic violence. 
Hundreds of studies show that women commit acts of domestic violence as often as, or more often than men. Many studies also show that lesbian women physically attack their intimate partners at least as often as heterosexual men.

As a result of Biden's Violence against Women Act, the federal government pays states to create laws effectively requiring that men be removed from their homes and families without even an allegation of violence, with no legitimate standards of evidence, when a woman makes a claim that she is afraid.

Elaine Epstein, president of the Massachusetts Bar Association (1999), has said "the facts have become irrelevant... restraining orders are granted to virtually all who apply. Regarding divorce cases, she states "allegations of abuse are now used for tactical advantage". According to Epstein, who is also a former president of the Massachusetts Women’s Bar Association, restraining orders are doled out "like candy" and "in virtually all cases, no notice, meaningful hearing, or impartial weighing of evidence is to be had."

State restraining order laws are starting to fall because they're unconstitutional. The federal law behind them, written by Joe Biden, is likely to fall as well, not because it isn’t popular, but because it is clearly unconstitutional.

Supporting Documentation

Here are some of the facts regarding Biden's abuse at the hand of his sister. During senate hearings held on December 11, 1990, Biden testified to the abuse.

www.ifeminists.net


Senate Hearing Transcript (see p. 171-172)


This recent CDC study indicates that women between the ages of 18 and 28 initiate reciprocal violence against their intimate partners about as often as men. It also indicates that women initiate non-reciprocal violence against their intimate partners more than twice as often as men.

pn.psychiatryonline.org


Here is a link to a bibliography of over 200 studies indicating that women are as violent as men in their intimate relationships:

www.csulb.edu

According to the US Department of Justice, women also abuse, neglect and kill their children at significantly higher rates than men. Here’s some of the data on child homicides.

www.acf.hhs.gov


Research clearly indicates that lesbian battery is at least as common as heterosexual battery.

www.musc.edu/vawprevention


lesbianlife.about.com


Cathy Young reports on the Elaine Epstein quote and the broader issue at Salon.com here:

www.salon.com


and provides in depth analysis here:

www.iwf.org

RS said...

NJ DV Law Overturned Amid Epidemic of False Allegations

New Jersey's domestic violence statute has recently been found unconstitutional. The New Jersey Attorney General is taking this case to the state's Supreme Court.

The New Jersey Law Journal reports that Judge Richard Russell of Ocean City made the following remarks on tape during a judicial training session regarding the issuance of restraining orders.

source: http://www.fathersandhusbands.org/NJ_Rights_1.pdf


“If I had one message to give you today, it is that your job is not to weigh the parties’ rights as you might be inclined to do as having been private practitioners. Your job is not to become concerned about all the constitutional rights of the man that you’re violating as you grant a restraining order. Throw him out on the street, give him the clothes on his back and tell him, ‘See ya’ around.’ “

A new municipal judge attending the training session stated “The statute says we should apply just cause in issuing the order.” “You seem to be saying to grant every order.” Russell quickly replied, “Yeah, that’s what I seem to be saying.”

The article is full of comments from Russell and his colleagues that are equally inflammatory.

Perhaps you think Russell should have been disbarred for instructing judges to ignore the constitution. In doing so, he violated his greatest responsibility as a judge in the most blatant way possible. Perhaps you think he should have gone to prison.

Russell now serves on the New Jersey Supreme Court's State Domestic Violence Working Group, the Executive Committee of the State Bar's Family Law Section, and the New Jersey Supreme Court's Family Practice Committee. He currently is the chair of the court's Child Support Subcommittee.

Given a recent ruling declaring New Jersey’s domestic violence statute unconstitutional and given the imminent Supreme Court challenge, the truth regarding the real practices that are being used to separate men from their children and their homes must be heard.

RS said...

US v. Morrison struck down the portion of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 that gave victims of gender motivated violence the right to sue their attackers in federal court. The Supreme Court ruled that this portion of VAWA exceeded congressional power under the Commerce Clause and the Equal Protection Clause. The funding provisions of VAWA were unaffected.

A fundamental challenge to VAWA has not yet been heard by the Supreme Court.

RS said...

This fascinating article gives some great insights into the shaky constitutional foundation on which the Violence Against Women Act stands.

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3827/is_200001/ai_n8894877/pg_1?tag=artBody;col1

RS said...

New Jersey's DV Statute Unconstitutional

http://www.1010wins.com/pages/2589012.php?

"State Superior Court Judge Francis B. Schultz found that some elements of the 17-year-old law are unconstitutional. Among them: a low threshold of evidence _ just a ``preponderance'' _ to get a restraining order violates due process protections. Instead, judges need ``clear and convincing'' evidence to issue a restraining order, Schultz said."

The Crespo decision is available here:
http://www.true-equality.org/reports/crespo_decision.pdf

As described in the comment above about NJ judge Richard Russel, the New Jersey judicial establishment is so biased on this issue that there's virtually no chance that the state's Supreme Court will uphold the Crespo decision.

This case appears to be shaping up as a clear path for a Supreme Court challenge to the Violence Against Women Act.

Joe said...

Michael, the Constitution of the United States of America limits the powers of all branches of the federal government, which includeds the United States Senate.

http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/constitution.overview.html

EDH said...

With all his rambling talk, I think Joe Biden wants us to believe he is openly sharing his true inner monologue with us.

I don't believe that for a second. Something else is rattling around in there.

Daryl said...

Then, in December 1989, [AN ARAB] walked into a university classroom in Montreal with a hunting rifle, divided the students by sex, yelled that the women were all "a bunch of feminists," and killed 14 of them.

Fixed it for you. As far as I know, this Wikipedia page is accurate:

Lépine was born Gamil Rodrigue Gharbi, the son of Algerian immigrant Rachid Liass Gharbi and Canadian Monique Lépine, in Montreal and was baptized a Catholic as an infant. He spent much of his early childhood in Costa Rica and Puerto Rico . . . Gamil's father had contempt for women and believed that they were only intended to serve men. He was verbally and physically abusive to his wife and children . . . .

Of course, feminists want to pin the blame for this atrocity on white Christian men born and raised in America/Canada, so naturally they skip the most important details.

PatCA said...

I just question the timing. On the day of Palin's first grilling, Biden is lionized.

Just saying.

rhhardin said...

On the day of Palin's first grilling, Biden is lionized.

The large hadron collider stripped off Biden's electrons.

Hey said...

As was noted the Montreal Polytechnic murders have more than a hint of jihad to them. Almost everyone likes to sweep that under the rug. Too many feminists want to fight "the patriarchy" rather than actual patriarchs!

But Hate Crimes are essentially a bogus cause. They do indicate a lack of serious punishment for the felonies involved - almost all real crimes have nowhere near long enough sentences. 3 strikes laws are a good start, but far more things should be 1 strike penalties.

I do think that there should be enhanced punishment for some crimes - any crime that aims to create terror in the public or a subsection or that aims to force political change. If you assault someone because you don't like gays, that's one thing, but if you assault someone in a manner to terrorize all gays, that's a whole 'nother kettle of fish. Cross burning just isn't arson, nor is bombing a church. All political and terrorist crimes should be punished with a minimum of life without parole. Murder and attempted murder with a terrorist enhancement should be a minimum of death. Preferably something that violates the cruel and unusual punishment clause 9 ways to Sunday - the end of Braveheart would be a good place to start for inspiration.

Peter V. Bella said...

Michael said...
Dick asks: "BTW is it a hate crime for a bunch of gay guys to mug and rob a straight guy because he is a breeder? Would you make that a hate crime as well or would that not be a hate crime."

Glad you brough that up. About twelve years ago a fireman had dinner a Mexican Restaurant with his wife and small children.

The family was leaving at the same time a group of intoxicated gay men were. They started on the breeder remarks and even insulted the fireman's children. The fireman tried to leave peacefully bu the gays blocked his way and continued to mock his family. He tried to push through. A shoving macth ensued. The fireman clocked one or two of the gay guys.

When the dust settled and all the witnesses were interviewed and they supported the fireman, some moronic ASA wanted to charge the fireman with a hate crime.

It took four hours and several phone calls before it was all straightened out. The gays were charged with battery and the fireman with nothing.

That folks is justice in America. Gays commit a hate crime and get away with it. The victim of the hate crime is almost charged. That is why I always say, there is no justice, just us.

Paul said...

I apologize for coming to this discussion so late (and as a non-lawyer I always hesitate to ask "dumb" questions for fear of appearing ignorant), but...I went to the link Ann posted to the decision that invalidated the civil remedy portions of the VAWA (United States v. Morrison, 529 U.S. 598) back in May of 2000, and I was appalled at what appeared to be the outcome. I understand the limitations our Constitution places on Congress -- that they can only act under authority of one or other of the powers enumerated in Article I, or one of the amendments. But besides such High Theory, there is also the need for practical justice to be done -- in a sense this is prior to any Constitution or reasoning flowing therefrom: as human beings we require justice. Any system that fails to provide it calls its own justification into question.

With that in mind, take a look at the facts of the case which caused the Supremes chose to declare VAWA invalid: a college freshman met two football players, and within 30 minutes of their meeting the two goons had assaulted and repeatedly raped her. It appears from reading the decision that the school (Virginia Tech) handled the case administratively, rather than (say) calling the police and having the two thugs hauled off to jail and, eventually, to court and, one would hope, long prison sentences.

In the end, the two perps got slaps on the wrist, while the victim suffered terribly, eventually dropping out of school when the worst of the two hoodlums who'd attacked her returned to school.

Was that it?? Does anyone know? Because if that really was what happened -- if the available remedies (e.g., pursuing justice under state jurisdiction) failed to adequately address this monstrous crime and its aftermath, then I think this whole discussion is, in the end, just bloviating (to borrow from the heading Ann gave this entry). Justice, then, was clearly not done.

Again, I am only going on Rehnquist's summary description of the case and how it was handled, so I don't know if I am presenting the case accurately. If I'm missing something I'd be glad to be corrected.

Simon said...

Paul, the difficulty is that an injustice in the sense of the failure of one or more states to provide adequate remedies for a problem doesn't bootstrap Congress the power to act. If you indeed understand "the limitations our Constitution places on Congress -- that they can only act under authority of one or other of the powers enumerated in Article I, or one of the amendments," then you understand that saying "[a]ny system that fails to provide [justice] calls its own justification into question" is an argument to amend the Constitution, not for the court to ignore the Constitution we have. The court isn't there to "do justice" in the abstract. It's role - its duty - is to say what the law is, not what it should be, and even when the law is (in some people's eyes, because justice is subjective) unjust.

RS said...

Paul,

This article explores your question in depth.

Jeremy said...

"Any system that fails to provide it calls its own justification into question."

But you've still got to think about your jurisdiction. In the case you mentioned, the California Supreme Court failed to provide justice to the vicitim. On the other hand, the case wasn't in CA, so they would have had no business administering justice. Likewise, the federal government was not the controlling force here.

KaziA said...

fen, your post was awesome, I was raised in a house where Ms mag was prominently displayed on the coffee table and I still can't understand why what's good for Anita isn't good for Paula.

"The Violence Against Women Act? In the 1994 Crime Bill?

The one that says Paula Jones has a right to establish a pattern of sexual predation in the workplace on the part of Clinton?

The act which explains why its not "just about sex" to ask Monica if she was coerced? That's what the Dems are puffing their chest about? Hillarious.

Because their love of VAWA was situational back in the 90's. Or course, with them, what isn't."