Martin Bashir | February 25, 2013
>>> according to the white house , the violence against women act has improved the criminal justice response and has led to a reduction in domestic violence . so you might think that reauthorization would be fairly straightforward but some republicans are not so keen, objecting to the expansion of coverage to include immigrants, native americans , and those within lgbt communities . here is senator chuck grassley explaining why he voted against reauthorization.
>> you have a jury. the jury is supposed to be a reflection of society. under the laws of our land, you got to have a jury that is a reflection of society as a whole and on an indian reservation it's going to be made up of indians, so the nonindian doesn't get a fair trial .
>> leaders of native american tribal organizations are demanding a retraction from grassley calling his comments offensive and factually wrong. goldie taylor is an msnbc contributor and a columnist for msnbc.com. nia- malika henderson is a political reporter for "the washington post ." thank you for joining us. goldie , aside from insulting native americans , grassley didn't bother to read the bill because it clearly states tribal juries provide fair and impartial hearings and that they include a cross section of the community, including nonnative americans . would it not be helpful if he read it before rejecting it?
>> i think it would be helpful if everyone read this piece of legislation. it's common sense. since it was enacted in 1994 the violence against women act has done a lot, including having women not have to pay for their own rape kits after an incident. having women be able to access a national hotline to report domestic abuse . you know, having resources available and training for prosecutors and law enforcement officers and other personnel. this violence against women act isn't just a nice name. it has real teeth and real resources available to women. what's stopping this is that certain republicans don't want it to be available to immigrants and they don't want it to be available to women who live on native american lands. immigration status is one thing that domestic abusers hold against their victims. so that they cannot call police. they cannot call authorities. they cannot get the help that they need. the violence against women act extended to the lgbt community , makes certain the woman next door to me gets the same protections i do even though i am straight, even though i am an american citizen . the woman next door to me deserves the exact same protection.
>> absolutely. nia- malika , the house version of the bill makes it easier for nonnative americans charged which because to get their chases thrown out of tribal courts. is this really about due process or is there something more behind this?
>> well, republicans will say it's really about states ' rights. if you look at the broad sort of categories that this bill lays out, they want states to be able to determine what categories of women are most vulnerable and, therefore, tailor their programs according to that. what is interesting about this iteration --
>> are you telling me violence towards a woman is somehow different if it's perpetrated in georgia than if it's perpetrated in texas? i mean, that's ludicrous, isn't it?
>> i'm telling what you the republican argument is in terms --
>> i know!
>> this actually is moving the ball a little bit from where the house was in last session. they are actually recognizing tribal rights in this and tribal sovereignty in a way they didn't before. i think somebody watched as tom cole , a republican out of oklahoma, he's with the chickasaw nation , he's likely to introduce an amendment that makes it easier for if nonnative americans feel like they're 23409 getting a fair trial on tribal lands, they can appeal to federal courts . the problem with that, we start where we begin with the backlog of cases in federal courts and whether or not they will be inclined to take some of these cases. but i do think that the republicans' argument is, a, they feel like this is something that states should be able to take up so that's why you see some resistance, and i think in some ways if you look over the last three or four years, i'm not even sure this is going to pass because you have had this stonewalling and resistance on the part of republicans to get this passed.
>> so, goldie , it's all about states ' rights.
>> when you say states ' rights, i hear nullification.
>> what it means is they don't want the federal government involved in this because they want the states to not do anything. and so i think that's the real issue here. what ought to happen if i live in georgia and i happen to move to massachusetts or i happen to move to california, my protections ought to go with me no matter where i am. and my legal status in this country, whether or not i am gay or lesbian, should not matter. republicans want it to matter because it is tied to those same wedge issues. voting in favor of anything that expands protections for people who may be in this country illegally or expands protection for people who happen to be gay or lesbian, our brothers and sisters , those kinds of protections, voting for those things, may cost them and the ballot box back home in their red districts and i think that's the real issue.
>> goldie taylor and nia- malika henderson, thank you so much.