An amendment which would have severely restricted protections for Native American women under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was defeated yesterday evening.
The amendment, proposed by Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), would have removed a new provision of VAWA that would allow Native American tribal courts to try non-Native Americans for cases of violence against women that occur on tribal lands against members of the reservation. The amendment was defeated in a 59 to 31 vote.
Senator Coburn proposed the amendment and argued that the new provisions would eliminate the constitutional rights of non-Native Americans if they go before a tribal court. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) explained that Native American women experience abuse at a rate of two and a half times the national average, and argued that the new provisions extend constitutional rights to tribal courts. "This is about the life and death of women who need a better system to help prosecute those who are committing serious crimes against them," she said.
In late January, Senators Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) reintroduced a bill to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The bipartisan-supported Senate VAWA includes expanded protections for Native American women, LGBTQ individuals, students, and immigrant women. Last week, an amendment that would have removed the expanded protections was defeated in a 65 to 34 vote.
Media Resources: Associated Press 2/12/2013; Senate Roll Call Vote on Coburn Amdt No. 13 2/11/2013; Feminist 2/8/2013; 1/23/2013
3/6/2014 Senate Rejects Qualified Obama Nominee to Lead DOJ Civil Rights Division - The US Senate blocked President Obama's nominee to lead the Civil Rights Division within the Department of Justice.
Senators voted 47-52 yesterday in opposition to Debo Adegbile, a highly qualified attorney who worked in private practice at the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison before holding several leadership positions at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, including Director of Litigation, Acting President, Director-Counsel, and Special Counsel, and serving as senior counsel to the US Senate Judiciary Committee.
Adegbile is a voting rights expert. . . .