McCaskill’s Sexual-Assault Bill Sails Through Senate

But, unlike a proposal from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, it doesn’t take away a commander’s ability to decide if a sexual-assault case should be prosecuted.

WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 18: Subcommittee chairman Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) speaks during a hearing of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee's Contracting Oversight Subcommittee on Capitol Hill November 18, 2010 in Washington, DC. The subcommittee held the hearing about contracts and the role of the Special Inspector General in Afghanistan. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)
National Journal
Jordain Carney
Add to Briefcase
Jordain Carney
March 10, 2014, 5:12 p.m.

Sen. Claire Mc­Caskill’s bill to change the way the mil­it­ary handles sexu­al-as­sault cases passed the Sen­ate with over­whelm­ing — and ex­pec­ted — sup­port Monday, with a 97-0 vote. 

The le­gis­la­tion, which Mc­Caskill craf­ted along with Sens. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., and Deb Fisc­her, R-Neb., would al­low vic­tims to have a say on wheth­er their cases are tried in mil­it­ary or ci­vil­ian court, al­low them to chal­lenge their dis­charge or sep­ar­a­tion from the ser­vice, and would get rid of the “good sol­dier” de­fense — which uses a sol­dier’s mil­it­ary per­form­ance to com­bat al­leg­a­tions — ex­cept in cases that dir­ectly link a sol­dier’s mil­it­ary be­ha­vi­or to the crime.

It would also ex­tend to the mil­it­ary ser­vice academies re­cent sexu­al-as­sault changes in­cluded in the Na­tion­al De­fense Au­thor­iz­a­tion Act that re­late to sexu­al-as­sault pre­ven­tion and re­sponse pro­grams.

“Un­an­im­ous agree­ment in the U.S. Sen­ate is pretty rare — but rarer still is the kind of sweep­ing, his­tor­ic change we’ve achieved over the past year in the mil­it­ary justice sys­tem,” Mc­Caskill said. “Today the Sen­ate voted to strengthen even fur­ther what is now one of the most vic­tim-friendly justice sys­tems in the world.”

The bill also had the back­ing of Sen­ate Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee Chair­man Carl Lev­in, D-Mich., who said Monday that the le­gis­la­tion “in­cludes real and im­port­ant re­forms” and “will surely make a ma­jor con­tri­bu­tion in pro­tect­ing the troops who pro­tect us.” 

But it doesn’t go as far as a com­pet­ing pro­pos­al by Sen. Kirsten Gil­librand, which would have stripped from com­mand­ers the power to de­cide which sexu­al-as­sault cases are pro­sec­uted. That le­gis­la­tion, which vic­tims-ad­vocacy groups backed and the Pentagon op­posed, failed to get the sup­port of 60 sen­at­ors it needed last week on a pro­ced­ur­al vote.

The New York Demo­crat said that she would try to get her bill in­cluded in the next de­fense au­thor­iz­a­tion round.

What We're Following See More »
PLENTY OF MISTAKES IN COVERT TESTS
Report: U.S. Ill-Equipped to Detect Dirty Bomb
4 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

A DHS report "found gaping holes in domestic nuclear detection and defense capabilities and massive failures during covert testing." A team put in place to assess our readiness capabilities found significant issues in detecting dangerous radioactive and nuclear materials, failing to do so in 30 percent of covert tests conducted over the course of the year. In far too many cases, the person operating the detection device had no idea how to use it. And when the operator did get a hit, he or she relayed sensitive information over unsecured open radio channels."

Source:
WON’T INTERFERE IN STRUCTURING NSC OFFICE
White House to Give McMaster Carte Blanche
6 hours ago
THE LATEST
RESTROOM ISSUES RETURN
Trump To Rescind Trans Protections
7 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Donald Trump is planning to reverse an Obama-era order requiring that schools allow students to use the bathroom that coincides with their gender identity. Trump "has green-lighted the plan for the Justice Department and Education Department to send a “Dear Colleague” letter to schools rescinding the guidance." A case is going before the Supreme Court on March 28 in which Gavin Grimm, a transgender high school student, is suing his high school for forbidding him to use the men's room.

Source:
NAIVE, RISK TAKER
Russia Compiling Dossier on Trump’s Mind
8 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

Retired Russian diplomats and members of Vladimir Putin's staff are compiling a dossier "on Donald Trump's psychological makeup" for the Russian leader. "Among its preliminary conclusions is that the new American leader is a risk-taker who can be naïve, according to a senior Kremlin adviser."

Source:
“HORRIBLE” AND “PAINFUL”
Trump Addresses Threats On Jewish Community Centers
10 hours ago
THE DETAILS
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login