Violence Against Women Act
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