OJS TJS Virtual VAWA Roundtable Discussion, June 29, 2022

Violence Against Women Act Round Table Discussion

Lessons Learned: Implementing VAWA ’22 Based on VAWA ’13

Hosted on Zoom, June 29, 2022, 11-5:30pm

Visit www.vawaroundtable.com for more information and to register for the tuition free event

New VAWA Bill Introduced in the Senate

On Wednesday, Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) introduced a version of the Violence against Women Act bill that she sponsored. The new VAWA bill attempts to significantly erode tribal sovereignty in the name of “defending civil rights” by eliminating the exhaustion of tribal remedies, forcing an over-broad application of the U.S. Constitution in tribal courts, and providing a cause of action for defendants to sue tribes for civil rights violations.

This excerpt from the recent FMC Corp. v.  Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, — F.3d —-, 2019 WL 6042469 *22 (9th Cir. 2019), encompasses exactly why this bill is misguided in its attempts to abrogate tribal sovereignty:

“Making good on these due process guarantees, nearly five decades of tribal cases applying ICRA show that tribal courts protect the rights of both member and nonmember litigants in much the same way as do federal and state courts.” Norton, 862 F.3d at 1250. “[T]ribal courts often provide litigants with due process that ‘exceed[s] the protections offered by state and federal courts.’” Id. (second alteration in original) (citing Matthew L.M. Fletcher, American Indian Tribal Law 325 (2011))…[o]ur own experience in reviewing tribal court decisions is consistent with the findings of these studies. Tribal courts, like all courts (including our own), make mistakes. But, contrary to the contention of FMC, tribal courts do not treat nonmembers unfairly.

A copy of the bill is here.

The HuffPost ran an article on how this proposed VAWA legislation harms tribes on Thursday, November 21, 2019. That article is here.

DOJ Tribal Consultation on Domestic Violence in Fairbanks, AK (May 1, 2019)

From Monique Vondall:

I was at the historic consultation — a first — with the DOJ regarding domestic violence funding for Indian Country. Of the $169 million in grants available only 59 tribes applied and the cap of $500,000 only allowed $29 million to be distributed.  The DOJ listening session was met with many requests to continue the set-aside funding for Indian Country.

The Southwest region in Alaska reports the highest percentage of women who experience domestic violence in America. The 2019 Section 903 Reauthorization of VAWA found that Alaska Native women experience domestic violence at a rate of 250% more than any other women in America.

AG Nominee Jeff Sessions Testifies on VAWA 2015 Tribal Court Jurisdiction(Sorta)

Here is the CSPAN transcript and video link.

Here are excerpts (taken from uncorrected closed captioning) from the testimony at 1:41:48:

SO, WHEN WE VOTED IN THE COMMITTEE, EIGHT OF THE NINE REPUBLICANS VOTED AGAINST THE BILL. ONE OF THE MORE CONCERNINGPROVISIONS WAS A PROVISION THAT GAVE TRIBAL COURTS JURISDICTION TO TRY PERSONS WHO WERE NOT TRIBAL MEMBERS. AS CONTRARY, I BELIEVE THE ONLY TIMEHAT GAVE TRIBAL COURTS JURISDICTION TO TRY PERSONS WHO WERE NOT TRIBAL MEMBERS. AS CONTRARY, I BELIEVE THE ONLY TIME THAT’S EVER HAPPENED, THAT WAS A BIG CONCERN THAT I RAISED I BELIEVE PRIMARILY. ON THE LEGISLATION, SO I VOTED WITH THE CHAIRMAN AND THE LEGISLATION HE HAD THAT I THOUGHT DID THE JOB FOR PROTECTING WOMEN, TO REAUTHORIZE THE VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ACT, BUT AT THE SAME TIME, DID NOT HAVE OTHER THINGS ATTACHED TO IT THAT I THOUGHT WERE CONCERNING.

At 1:43:31:

MR. CHAIRMAN, I HAVE NO UNDERSTANDING OF THAT. BUT IN OTHER RESULT, OF IT SO FAR, I’M INTERESTED FIRST TIME I’VE HEARD IT COMING ON. LET ME SAY THIS TO YOU DIRECTLY. IN MEETING WITH SENATORS PRIOR TO THIS HEAR, I’VE HAD QUITE A NUMBER, PERHAPS MORE THAN ANY OTHER ISSUE THAT NONINDIANS THAT HAVE GONE ON TO TRIBAL LANDS THAT HAVE COMMITTED CRIMES INCLUDING RAPE HAVE NOT BEEN EFFECTIVELY PROOS CUTED. THEY HAVE BEEN PROSECUTED IN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT BY THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEYS AND THAT HAS NOT BEEN HAPPENING SUFFICIENTLY. I AM NOT CONVINCED, SO I DO THINK THE FBI PARTICULARLY MAYBE THE BUREAU OF THE INDIAN AFFAIRS INVESTIGATEORS SHOULD BE BEEFED UP AND THE U.S. ATTORNEYS NEED TO DO PROBABLY A BETTER JOB OF PROSINGING CASES THAT NEED TO BE PROSECUTED IN FEDERAL FORTCOURT.

And at 1:44:58:

I WOULD DEFEND THE STATUTE IF IT’S REASONABLY DEFENSIBLE. YES, IT’S PASSED BY CONGRESS. IT WOULD BE THE DUTY OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL. WHETHER THEY VOTED FOR IT OR SUPPORTED IT, TO DEFEND IT.

Biden and Obama Remarks at VAWA Signing Ceremony

Highlight quote from the President:

Tribal governments have an inherent right to protect their people, and all women deserve the right to live free from fear. And that is what today is all about.

2:16 P.M. EST

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, Diane. Thank you. (Applause.) Continue reading