Kimberly Willingham (202) 225-3035
February 27, 2013
Rep. Louie Gohmert (TX-01) issued the following statement today regarding his vote against the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA):
“It is never acceptable to carry out acts of violence against women – or anyone for that matter. It violates existing laws in every U.S. state and territory. We should always defend and protect women from abuse and mistreatment. I have prosecuted and, later as a judge, personally sentenced violent abusers to prison for such heinous crimes. Violence against women is a critically important issue to me, and I also personally know the laws in our state of Texas protect women.
The Violence Against Women Act was previously struck down by the Supreme Court for violating the Constitution and intruding on each State’s jurisdiction. This new Senate bill was seriously flawed also having Constitutional violations again. It will eventually be struck down. The bill also gave away far more money than even the President had requested. The House bill was better but still had very serious Constitutional flaws. Even though the name of the bill appealed to me on a very strong emotional basis, I still could not in good conscience vote for a bill that will again be found to violate the Constitution.
Also the Speaker of the House had promised to return to regular order in the House so that bills would have legislative hearings, have wide open debate and have an open amendment process to provide complete transparency. That process more than likely would have provided a bill I could have voted for, but this bill was secretly negotiated and rushed to the floor for a vote. Additionally, granting Indian tribes special domestic violence jurisdiction over non-native Americans is blatantly violative of the Constitution.
We know some of the groups helping battered women do wonderful, healing, helpful work. However, there is inadequate supervision of the money spent by the federal government in these matters causing some women’s advocacy groups, such as Eagle Forum, to state that this Act has a ‘billion-dollar-a-year price tag’ that is ‘spent by the radical feminists to pursue their ideology and goals.’
Shielding women from physical and mental abuse is of the utmost importance. However, this bill was not the answer while violating the Constitution.”
Congressman Louie Gohmert is the Vice Chair of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security. Prior to being elected to serve in Congress, Louie was elected to three terms as District Judge in Smith County, Texas. He also served as Chief Justice of Texas' 12th Court of Appeals.
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