Shortly after President Obama signed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization into law, Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) released a glowing press release claiming that a “Cornyn bill” to “eliminate nationwide rape kit backlog” was signed into law. The so-called “Cornyn bill” is the SAFER Act, which was incorporated into the VAWA renewal, and which “provide[s] funding for state and local governments to conduct audits of untested DNA evidence and create[s] a national reporting system to help track and prioritize untested rape kits,” according to Cornyn. By all appearances, it seems like a wonderful law. There’s only one problem.
Cornyn voted against it.
Cornyn was one of 22 Senate Republican men who voted against the VAWA renewal. He opposed the bill because he objected to a provision enabling tribal courts to prosecute non-Native Americans who commit rape or other violent crimes against women on Indian reservations. This provision is intended to combat the virtual lawlessness that faces Native American women on these reservations without the VAWA renewal. A 2010 report by the Government Accountability Office found that federal prosecutors “declined to prosecute 46 percent of assault matters and 67 percent of sexual abuse and related matters” on reservations.
(HT: Steve Benen)