"If you have a jury, the jury is supposed to be a reflection of society. Under the laws of our land, you've 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, right? So the non-Indian doesn't get a fair trial."
-- Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) on why he's against the Violence Against Women Act, because of a part of the bill that gives tribal courts the authority to charge non-Native American men in abuse cases on tribal lands.
Except it turns out neither Mr. Grassley nor his staff bothered to check with...well, tribal law.
As John Dossett, general counsel for the National Congress of American Indians (who probably knows a thing or two about tribal law and likely has a cell phone that someone in Chuck Grassley's office could have called), said, Sen. Grassley's charge is "simply wrong,"
Among the various reasons that the senator is wrong, Mr Dossett noted, is that juries on tribal lands, in fact, represent a "fair" cross-section of a reservation and therefore they include non-Indian people who live there as part of the community.
Whether Mr. Grassley now says, "Oh, okay, I see. Okay, I'm for the bill now" -- or whether he sets his staff out looking for some new, nebulous and erroneous excuse, we wait to see...
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
Feedspot Badge of Honor