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1999 NOVA Newsl. 1 (1999)

handle is hein.journals/novan1999 and id is 1 raw text is: 













Volume  18, Number 8 (of 12 Issues), 1999


Senate Judiciary Committee Considers


Victims' Amendment for Fourth Time




                                         Laurence Tribe Statement


    On  March 24, I 999, the United
  States Senate dilary Commnittee
held its fourth hearing in about as
Ail  nyars  on e   adsabllity of
amendig   the esu Consiuton   to
protect ittim ights
    line the issues had already been
discued  at length, the  comunittee
leadership chose to have ust three
witneses  Proponents were Unliver-
sitlyo Utah law profesr Paulssell
and Steven Twist, former Chief Deputy
Attorniey General of Arlionia, ande a
cirent NOVA   Board Miemnber Op
posing  the resoution  was Beth
Wlikinson a fimer federa prisetu-
torl
    Beore the day was out, the com-
mnittee had already posted the wit-
neses testl(Inyn onl its Web site:
http://1udeiiay .enle gov (note the
absence of the www Hin the0 address),
Readers  e inited to obtain the sub-
mitted testimnyn there (and NOVA
also encourages its mnembers to check
in frorn time to time at the Homepage
of the National Victiis Constitutional
Amnildmlent      Ntwoka       at
wsw  nican01g).
      Repinted here are two state-
m1ents subitted for the record that
are not on the Committee We sh ite
one by Harvardilaw professor Laurence
Tribe and the other by Marsha Kight.
Director of tunilies and Survivors
U nited  Both, in part, rebut argu-
ments against the proposal


    / duor 1 noeam woni those invitd to
toesril at ihe Senate huiL ir (omnmnte
hearngon aproposed iietri/is  and-
ment   a I' aurnIc 11 iie Tler  Pro-
fes'or If (onitioal  Law  at Havard
Law  School. Profes vor The iu wldely








  i gde a,, tihe, preeinto  titutional ind
sc<ola in teiu belu   raditon of 1ns-
tices Louis /Brandlei and Williamn HBrennan
Iei followie statement explans his ah
some fom   /th harng - and the ra sons
he supports such 6 a amnnde nu.
    Readers whoare  nustothepoi
of legal  h  larsip may hnd some pas-
lages hard going maylil in also find
witHn A paiagei of  eat eloruernc te

    I  grel that I wa unable [ atcept the
invitation t ttestli in person at the hear-
ing of March 24, 1999. on the proposed
Vit11ms' Rights Constitutional Amend-
ment, Other conmmitmlents including a
final push to comlplete a quite 11aswive
book that constitutes the first of two vol-
unles of mly treaise Anmian ('onslt-
tional Law (3dI edition, 1999), which I
must get to the publisher by early April
limit me to maill a brerlllitten state-
ment. As luck would have it, part of the
volume that I aml nlow completing (sec-
tions 1-18 throughl 1-2l) deals with the
topic of conlstitutional amlendments - how
they dlife from changes in constituionall
interpretation; Hwhen chanlges iIn interpre-
tation, coupled with new Ilegilton are
inherelyi) nsufficient; what processes
mlust be followed in amending the Consti-
tution; what to make of the suggestions by
some scholars that the Constiltution can be


informally oaknd     utside the param-
eters of Article V; how to assess the sug-
gestionsof others that ioe properly  ti-
fied amedmients mia  be substantivel
unc nstitutional and what criteri should
be used in ealuating the newsity and
propriety of a proposed amendment Be-
cuse m1 expertise is focused pilaily on
his kind of illue i seems appropriate to
lee  to other the dtiiled dicusson of
spciic quetions posed h\ the drafting of
111 Victirs' Rilhts Amendment and to
concentiate n\ own  attentioan on the
broader questions of whether this pro-
powd  amendment  addresses a problem
that cwnnot be satislactorily resolved by
anthling less than a change in the text of
the Constitution, and whether this pro-
posed amendment is tonsistent with basic
ig hts and principles elsewhere protected
by the Constitution.
    Beginning with the premise that the
Constittillon should not be amended lightly
and  hould never be amended to achieve
short-term, partisan, or purely policy ob-
jecties, I would argue that a constitu-
tional amendment is appropriate only when
the goal involves (I) a needed change in


(See ribe, page 2)


b5eir o~,'ih~r~ mrn~t do no~' gsor~
to reprod~ e copyrwhted miwteri~

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