ARLINGTON, VA– The Independent Women’s Forum (IWF) applauds today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in United States v. Morrison holding that the federal civil remedy for “gender-motivated” acts under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is unconstitutional.
With the implementation of VAWA, Congress chose to establish a pointless and redundant “right” to sue attackers in federal, as well as state, court. In its amicus curiae brief filed in this case, the Independent Women’s Forum argues that Congress is wasting its time — and adding to victims’ suffering — by federalizing offenses already prohibited by state laws. The Supreme Court agrees.
VAWA, according to IWF President Anita K. Blair, “is not helpful, and, in fact, often harms individuals and families caught in violent relationships.” For example, she says VAWA promises federal grants if states adopt specified treatment programs, but these programs remain unproven and may make dangerous situations worse. Of the $1.6 billion in federal spending authorized under VAWA, only $200,000 (less than 0.001 percent) went for scientific research to determine how best to combat domestic violence.
This case sends an important message to Congress: Stop grandstanding with the lives and well-being of families hurt by violence.
The IWF has argued that the personal safety of women (and others) will be best secured by holding state and local authorities responsible for effective enforcement and prosecution against violent crimes, regardless of the gender of the victims.