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Hatch explains

Published February 28, 2013 1:01 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Peg McEntee's recent column about the Violence Against Women Act left out important facts ("Vital Violence Against Women Act runs into old foe — politics," Tribune, Feb. 24).

I co-sponsored VAWA in 1993 and its reauthorization in 2000, 2005 and 2013. I voted to reauthorize it last year and again this year.

Unfortunately, Senate Democrats offered a reauthorization bill containing new and controversial provisions that they knew many senators could not support. Rather than consider those measures separately, Democrats kept them in the bill and shattered the previously unanimous consensus supporting VAWA.

The bill I opposed, for example, would give tribal courts jurisdiction over non-tribal individuals in domestic violence cases. Since Native American reservations are sovereign nations, however, this means that American citizens would be deprived of protection by the U.S. Constitution and the U.S. judicial system.

There was a way to address this policy issue without violating the Constitution, but Democrats again insisted on pushing a version that they knew many senators could not support.

This isn't politics, as McEntee asserts — it's Constitution 101.

I continue to support VAWA's objectives, but I cannot support pursuing those objectives by violating the Constitution.

Sen. Orrin G. Hatch

Washington, D.C.