Violence Against Women Act

Topics: United States Constitution / Pages: 5 (1062 words) / Published: Oct 9th, 1999
The Violence Against Women Act creates a right to be "free from crimes of

violence" that are gender motivated. It also gives a private civil right of

action to the victims of these crimes. The Senate report attached to the act

states that "Gender based crimes and fear of gender based crimes...reduces

employment opportunities and consumer spending affecting interstate


Sara Benenson has been abused by her husband, Andrew Benenson, since 1978.

Because of this abuse, she sued her husband under various tort claims and

violations under the Violence Against Women Act. Now Mr. Benenson is

protesting the constitutionality of this act claiming that Congress has no

right to pass a law that legislates for the common welfare.

However, Congress has a clear Constitutional right to regulate interstate

commerce. This act is based solely on interstate commerce and is therefore

Constitutional. Because of abuse, Sara Benenson was afraid to get a job

because it would anger her husband. She was afraid to go back to school and

she was afraid to go shopping or spend any money on her own. All three of

these things clearly interfere and affect interstate commerce. Women like

Mrs. Benenson are the reason the act was passed.

There has been a long history of judgements in favor of Congress's power to

legislate using the commerce clause as a justification. For the past fifty

years, Congress's right to interpret the commerce clause has been

unchallenged by the Court with few exceptions. There is no rational reason

for this court to go against the powerful precedents set by the Supreme court

to allow Congress to use the Commerce clause.

In the case of Katzenbach v. McClung, the Court upheld an act of Congress

which was based on the commerce clause, that prohibited segregation. McClung,

the owner of a barbeque that would not allow blacks to eat inside the

restaurant, claimed that his business was completely intrastate. He stated

that his business had

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