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Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. CRAMER. Madam Speaker, just under 3 years ago, a 2-year-old little boy in Bismarck, North Dakota, watched for half an hour while his stepfather beat his mother to death. Today, that little boy is my 5-year-old son. Kris and I were blessed, and are blessed, to have been able to adopt Abel into our family where we work every day to dilute the memories of that awful night and many previously to it with new memories of love and affection.

I know the scourge of violence against women personally. It is not an abstract concept to my family. It's very real. That is why I support and will vote today for the Violence Against Women Act, because I want the shelters and programs that keep women safe to be well funded. I want the advocates of change to have the resources to turn victims into victors. I want law enforcement officers and prosecutors to have the tools to impose justice on behalf of my son and other women and children. It is not just theoretical to me. It's personal to me.

While I support the Violence Against Women Act because it is personal, I support this amendment because it's principled. Our Constitution in its genius guarantees due process--due process--to the accused. The concept of ``innocent until proven guilty'' is known as the cornerstone of American justice. It is what gives moral authority to our system of justice.

By codifying the language acknowledging ``inherent sovereignty,'' I fear we risk giving up the moral high ground for a political slogan that does nothing to protect the victims of violence.

Even if you are willing to rationalize trading justice through due process guaranteed in the 5th and 14th Amendments of our Constitution we pledged to uphold, please consider the damage we will have done if a court overturns this act and its protections because we wanted a good political slogan more than a good law.

Friends, let's vote for the Violence Against Women Act that not only protects the vulnerable in our society, but also protects the civil liberties upon which our system of justice is built.

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