Thursday, April 28, 2005

Flabbergastery

Kevin Drum points to Obsidian Wings, who asks Who Left The Kids In Charge? The bill I discussed earlier, the Fugitive Rape Victims' Act had a number of amendments offered in committee. Bus drivers, taxi drivers grandparents, godparents, clergy, cousins would have been exempted from the bills provisions. In each case, the Republicans rewrote the amendment's description, as follows:
"DEMS: a Nadler amendment allows an adult who could be prosecuted under the bill to go to a Federal district court and seek a waiver to the state’s parental notice laws if this remedy is not available in the state court. (no 11-16)
GOP REWRITE:. Mr. Nadler offered an amendment that would have created an additional layer of Federal court review that could be used by sexual predators to escape conviction under the bill. By a roll call vote of 11 yeas to 16 nays, the amendment was defeated.

DEMS: a Nadler amendment to exempt a grandparent or adult sibling from the criminal and civil provisions in the bill (no 12-19)
GOP REWRITE: . Mr. Nadler offered an amendment that would have exempted sexual predators from prosecution under the bill if they were grandparents or adult siblings of a minor. By a roll call vote of 12 yeas to 19 nays, the amendment was defeated.

DEMS: a Scott amendment to exempt cab drivers, bus drivers and others in the business transportation profession from the criminal provisions in the bill (no 13-17):
GOP REWRITE. Mr. Scott offered an amendment that would have exempted sexual predators from prosecution if they are taxicab drivers, bus drivers, or others in the business of professional transport. By a roll call vote of 13 yeas to 17 nays, the amendment was defeated.

DEMS: a Scott amendment that would have limited criminal liability to the person committing the offense in the first degree (no 12-18)
GOP REWRITE:. Mr. Scott offered an amendment that would have exempted from prosecution under the bill those who aid and abet criminals who could be prosecuted under the bill. By a roll call vote of 12 yeas to 18 nays, the amendment was defeated.

DEMS: a Jackson-Lee amendment to exempt clergy, godparents, aunts, uncles or first cousins from the penalties in the bill (no 13-20)
GOP REWRITE. Ms. Jackson-Lee offered an amendment that would have exempted sexual predators from prosecution under the bill if they were clergy, godparents, aunts, uncles, or first cousins of a minor, and would require a study by the Government Accounting Office. By a roll call vote of 13 yeas to 20 nays, the amendment was defeated."
This equation of pregnancy with sexual predation is the same justification used by AG Phill Kline in his hunt through women's medical, psychological and sexual histories. But changing every amendment into an attempt to protect sexual predators is absurd. Here's a scenario. Girl gets raped, pregnant. Parents oppose abortion, won't take girl to other state. Girl friend drives girl to other state, abortion is performed, and the father sues. Where's the sexual predator in this equation? If we're lucky, in jail; otherwise, on the lam.

Hilzoy at OW has this quote which makes the point even starker:

"Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., who authored the panel's report, defended its language, saying the Democratic amendments would not have specifically excluded child molesters from protections.

"Perhaps these amendments were not properly drafted by the authors when they were submitted in the committee," Sensenbrenner told the House. "That's not the fault of the majority, that's the fault of the people who drafted the amendment."

To which Rep. Nadler replied:

"Under CIANA, a father who rapes and impregnates his own daughter can go and sue the doctor or the grandparent or the clergyman who transported his child across state lines for the purpose of getting an abortion. Maybe that wasn’t exactly the intent of this legislation. But according to the descriptive guidelines now laid out by the majority, it would therefore be fair to call this entire bill the Rapists and Sexual Predators Right to Sue Act."
Just so. I must say that I'm flabbergasted. The Democrats will re-take the House one day, and on that day, the Republicans will object to us rewriting their amendments as "Mr. Blahblah offered an amendment to starve old people," "Mr. So-and-So offered an amendment to take money away from public schools," "Ms. SuchnSuch offered an amendment to let terrorists buy machine guns with 1000 round clips." But there it'll be, in black and white, hard proof that Republicans want America to be poor, dumb and unsafe.