Thursday, November 13, 2008

Violent Loophole Left Open by Smug Bastard

This week, Professional Asshole Antonin Scalia, decided that the "letter of the law" trumps a woman's right not to get murdered. Here's a delicious little exchange from the recent hearing of US vs Hayes (thanks to Jezebel for the quotes):

JUSTICE SCALIA: And this was misdemeanor assault and battery, wasn't it?


SCALIA: So it's not that serious an offense. That's why we call it a misdemeanor.

SAHARSKY: Well, I mean, certainly the offense is this particular case was serious. The charging document reflects that Respondent hit his wife all around the face until it swelled out, kicked her all around her body, kicked here in the ribs-

SCALIA: Then he should have been charged with a felony, but he wasn't. He was charged with a misdemeanor.

JUSTICE GINSBURG: Wasn't the — wasn't the statute responding to just that problem, that domestic abuse tended to be charged as misdemeanors rather than felonies? And it was that fact that the Senator was responding to when he included misdemeanor. The whole purpose of this was to make a misdemeanor battery count for the statute's purpose.

I can appreciate his commitment (from a legal standpoint) to the explicit text of the law, but...

...this smug dismissal: "People are governed by the law that is passed, not by the law that Congress intended to pass" makes me grind my teeth. The statute they are referring to is a 1996 effort to close a loophole which allowed those convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence charge to retain their gun rights (hence Justice Ginsburg's argument). But unfortuntely, this law opened up a NEW loophole which meant that those charged with domestic violence now plead into misdemeanor assualt & battery "in the home," which Hayes, the state of Virginia, Scalia and thousands of other abusers argue does not fall under the 1996 statute. FUCK THAT SHIT. The intent of the law is crystal clear: domestic abusers should not have access to guns. That creates a time bomb of a situation that vastly increases the odds of domestic homicide.

Honestly, I'm seeing ulterior motives behind the arguments of Scalia et al. To me it looks suspiciously like things are being viewed through the lens of the Second Amendment, which is almost completely irrelevant- the case is based on the reading of the '96 statute. People are so paranoid over gun rights that the terror of infringing on them trumps a woman's right to a life without fear of...yknow, murder. More "women's health" from the right wing. I see derisive air quotes in almost every sentence Scalia utters.

Time to be thankful AGAIN for Obama's victory. I can't even imagine a McCain appointed Supreme Court.


-Of females killed with a firearm, almost two thirds were killed by their intimate partners.

-Access to firearms increases the risk of intimate partner homicide more than five times more
than in instances where there are no weapons, according to a recent study. In addition, abusers
who possess guns tend to inflict the most severe abuse on their partners.

-A study of women physically abused by current or former intimate partners found a five-fold
increased risk of the partner murdering the woman when the partner owned a gun.

-Domestic violence misdemeanor convictions and restraining orders were the second most
common reason for denials of handgun purchase applications between 1994 and 1998.

And one unisex reason this loophole needs to be closed:

-About 14% "of all police officer deaths occur during a response to domestic violence calls.

(statistics from

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