This is exactly what the Violence Against Women Act, (S. 1925) is all about. It is bad legislation. First of all, it addresses an issue that belongs explicitly to the states and/or local government. As James Madison said in Federalist 45: "The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State."
And as the Cato Institute clearly explained: "...the Constitution specifically authorizes federal enforcement of only three types of laws, all of which involve uniquely federal concerns.” Those three types of criminal laws are laws to prevent counterfeiting, piracy and treason. Combating violent crime of any kind is the purview of the many states and other territories."
So, even if they liked what was in it, Congress should not be voting on it. But, even if it was constitutional, The Heritage Foundation’s David Muhlhausen and Christina Villegas note that the bill is fundamentally flawed, or politically motivated in several ways:
- It expands VAWA to men and prisoners, despite the lack of scientifically rigorous evaluations to determine the effectiveness of existing VAWA programs
- It expands the already duplicative VAWA grant programs
- Without precedent, it surrenders the rights of non-native Americans to racially exclusive tribal courts
- It would offer VAWA protection and aid to victims of violence in same-sex couples. In other words, the Violence Against Women Act would protect a man harmed by another man, but only if they are in a sexual relationship
"Using federal agencies and grant programs to fund the routine operations of domestic violence programs that state and local governments themselves could provide is a misuse of federal resources and a distraction from concerns that truly are the province of the federal government. Simply expanding this framework with extensive new provisions and programs that have been inadequately assessed is likely to facilitate waste, fraud, and abuse and will not better protect women or victims of violence generally."
No constitution-honoring legislator would vote for this terribly flawed bill.
Material for this blog came from Townhall.com and Heritage.org