Archive for March, 2011 »

Parental Rights Amendment S. J. Res 16 and H. J. Res. 42

YES on S.J. Res 16 and H.J. Res. 42- Parents Rights Amendment

Visit and click on your state. If your congressman is not a cosponsor (designated with an *), click on his name for contact information and give him a call. Politely ask your Senator to support  S.J. Res 16 and ask your Representative to support H.J. Res. 42. has offered an explanation about Section Two of the bill which some people were concered about:

RE: SECTION TWO – Section One specifies that parental rights are “fundamental.” Until 2000, that legal term was inseparable from the “strict scrutiny” test, which sets a high standard of legal protection. But in Troxel v. Granville, a majority of the Supreme Court acknowledged parental rights as “fundamental,” yet only one applied strict scrutiny.

Section Two of our Amendment, therefore, merely states the strict scrutiny standard. This language was first used in Wisconsin v. Yoder (1972) and has since been used in at least 124 court cases on record at various federal and state court levels. It has become the standard language to explain that the government cannot interfere with a right except in the strictest of circumstances, and then only by the least restrictive means. The Supreme Court has already established that such state interests as compulsory education do not meet this standard.

Legally, there are two levels of government interest – compelling interest (or interest of the highest order), and reasonable interest. Those who warn that Section Two opens the doors for government intrusion have confused the two, but neither judges nor lawmakers will be in a position to make that mistake. Section Two clearly states in legal terms that a “reasonable government interest” is insufficient, thus restoring the standard that was applied before the Troxel decision.”

Five Things You Should Know About the UN’s Children’s Rights Treaty:

1. This UN Treaty controls where your child goes to school, what your child may be taught (including religion), how you discipline your child, medical decisions, and much more.

2. This UN Treaty gives the government the power to override any decision you make about your child.

Under U.S. lawnote no government may override the decisions of parents until proving they have harmed the child (abuse, neglect). Under this UN treaty the government could simply substitute its judgment for that of any parent if the government believed that its decision was “best” for the child.

3. The UN Children’s Rights Treaty Would Override Virtually All U.S. Law.

Our Constitution provides that treaties become part of the “supreme law of the land,” overriding all inconsistent state laws and state constitutions. Since virtually all American law on families and children is state law, this UN treaty would be supreme over the law made by your elected officials about every legal issue for your child

4. A UN Tribunal Would Hold America “Accountable” for Compliance.

A committee of 18 “experts” has two critical powers: 1. The Committee issues official interpretations of the treaty. 2. It issues official determinations concerning compliance. We have seen what American courts do in “interpreting” the Constitution. When the UN gets to “interpret” a treaty, the legal rules can change according to the whims of the Committee.

5. SR 519 urges the rejection of this Treaty- the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. THIRTY Senators have signed SR 519 showing that they believe that American parents should be trusted and that American laws should be made by Americans.

If you want your Senators to support American law for American families (if they aren’t already), call them today.

P.O. Box 1090
Purcellville, VA 20134

The Proposed Parental Rights Amendment —


The liberty of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children is a fundamental right.


Neither the United States nor any state shall infringe upon this right without demonstrating that its governmental interest as applied to the person is of the highest order and not otherwise served.


No treaty may be adopted nor shall any source of international law be employed to supersede, modify, interpret, or apply to the rights guaranteed by this article.

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Posted by admin - March 16, 2011 at 11:26 pm

Categories: Child Abuse Laws   Tags: , , , , ,

The Lawsuit Reduction ACT (LARA)

The Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act (LARA) was introduced this week, six years after Congress last considered legislation to discourage frivolous lawsuits in federal court.

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX),chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, announced the bill’s introduction on Wednesday. A news release summarized:

The Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act (LARA) imposes mandatory sanctions for lawyers who file meritless suits in federal court. Federal rules mandating sanctions for frivolous suits were watered down in 1993, resulting in the current crisis of widespread lawsuit abuse. LARA restores the mandatory sanctions which hold attorneys accountable for lawsuit abuse.

Specifically, the legislation:

  • Reinstates the requirement that if there is a violation of Rule 11, there are sanctions (Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure was originally intended to deter frivolous lawsuits by sanctioning the offending party).
  • Requires that judges impose monetary sanctions against lawyers who file frivolous lawsuits. Those monetary sanctions will include the attorney’s fees and costs incurred by the victim of the frivolous lawsuit.
  • Reverses the 1993 amendments to Rule 11 that allow parties and their attorneys to avoid sanctions for making frivolous claims by withdrawing them within 21 days after a motion for sanctions has been served.

The text of the House bill, H.R. 966, is available here. The Senate bill is S. 533.

Congress last debated LARA in 2005, when H.R. 420 passed the House only to disappear into the Senate. Democrats took control of Congress in the 2006 elections, which put an end to legislative efforts toward tort reform at the federal level.

The new legislation drops the state-specific language that caused political trouble last time and would likely draw the ire of federalism-minded House Republicans. As Victor Schwartz, general counsel for the American Tort Reform Association, tells us, “This new version of LARA has greater political and practical strength. It is trimmer and focuses solely on the problem: stopping frivolous claims. The President of the United States recognized this problem in his State of the Union and Congress should act now to end unnecessary and costly lawsuit abuse.”


Schwartz is one of three witnesses scheduled to testify Friday before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution’s hearing on the bill. The others are Elizabeth A. Milito of National Federation of Independent Business’ Professor Lonny Hoffman of the University of Houston Law Center. Hoffman is a past critic of the legislation; in 2006 he published, “The Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act: The Legislative Bid to Regulate Lawyer Conduct,” in The Review of Litigation.

We’ve encountered Hoffman’s writings before in our reading on the predations of Milberg Weiss. Last year Hoffman and Alan F. Steinberg released, “The Ongoing Milberg Weiss Controversy,” a rebuttal of an empirical study by Michael A. Perino and an apparent attempt to exonerate the law firm for rigging class-action lawsuits. In the abstract, the two authors conclude:

The big take away that Perino offers at the end of his study – that the evidence contradicts the claim that kickbacks paid to the named plaintiffs were a “victimless crime” – is not supported by the data he has collected and reported. Far from demonstrating that kickbacks allowed Milberg to obtain higher fees, his study fails to rule out the possibility that other, entirely benign reasons could explain the higher fees Milberg received, including that the fees were earned by the results obtained in settlements of the indictment cases.

Apologists for Milberg Weiss are few and far between. We’ll be interested in seeing the same legal approach applied to Hoffman’s opposition to the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act.

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Posted by admin - March 12, 2011 at 4:58 am

Categories: General Abuse Laws   Tags:

The U. S. Constitution Safeguards the Child and not an International Treaty – S. Res. 519

YES on S. Res. 519

A resolution expressing the sense of the Senate that the primary safeguard for the well-being and protection of children is the family, and that the primary safeguards for the legal rights of children in the United States are the Constitutions of the United States and the several States, and that, because the use of international treaties to govern policy in the United States on families and children is contrary to principles of self-government and federalism, and that, because the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child undermines traditional principles of law in the United States regarding parents and children, the President should not transmit the Convention to the Senate for its advice and consent

Please call your senators and urge them to cosponsor S.R. 519


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Posted by admin - March 11, 2011 at 11:14 pm

Categories: Child Abuse Laws   Tags: , , , , ,

CAPTA Reauthorization Act of 2010 – S. 3817 Passed

Statement from Press Secretary Robert Gibbs on the Reauthorization of Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act and the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act

The President is pleased that today Congress passed S. 3817 reauthorizing the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act and the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act. This important legislation will strengthen child protective services and continue life-saving programs for victims of domestic violence. The President thanks Chairman Harkin and Chairman Miller for their great work, and he particularly thanks Senator Dodd for his leadership. This legislative achievement is a fitting tribute to his many years of effort in the Senate to protect the most vulnerable of our citizens.

CAPTA Reauthorization Act of 2010
S. 3817

Congress passed the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act December 10. CAPTA was first passed in 1974 and was last reauthorized for five years under the Keeping Children and Families Safe Act of 2003. In late September 2010, Senators Christopher Dodd (D-CT), Michael Enzi (R-WY), and Tom Harkin (D-IA) introduced the reauthorizing legislation (S. 3817).

In addition to CAPTA, this reauthorization bill encompasses the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act, Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment and Adoption Reform Act of 1978 (Adoption Opportunities), and theAbandoned Infants Assistance Act of 1988.

Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act: CAPTA is the only federal legislation exclusively targeting prevention, assessment, identification, and treatment of child abuse and neglect. It is also the only federal legislation providing for universal primary prevention of child abuse and neglect capacity building. See an in-depth summary of changes to CAPTA below.

Family Violence Prevention and Services ActFVPSA is the only dedicated federal funding resource for emergency shelter, direct services, and assistance for victims of domestic violence and their dependent children, including theNational Domestic Violence Hotline. The legislation includes three formula grants, one competitive grant, and small discretionary grant.

This reauthorization bill makes dating violence victims eligible for services, addresses systems collaboration by coordinating reporting data, includes resource centers focused on expanding access for underserved populations, creates a program for children exposed to domestic violence, makes improvements to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, and strengthens confidentiality provisions.

Adoption Opportunities – A discretionary competitive grant program funding projects that eliminate barriers to adoption and promote permanent families through adoption for appropriate children. The legislation includes a national adoption information exchange system, adoption family recruitment, post-permanency services for adopted children with special needs, and other programs supporting child placement in kinship care, pre-adoptive, and adoptive homes. The reauthorization strengthens focus on minority and older children adoptions by reserving 30-50 percent of funding on key areas, including post-adoption support and recruitment efforts for older children, minority children and children with special needs.

Abandoned Infants Assistance Act - This act funds prevention and assistance programs that target infants abandoned in hospitals and churches and infants born with drug dependencies or HIV. It also includes preservation and foster family training for families of this population. The reauthorization bill strictly reauthorized this act.

Summary of New Provisions

The reauthorization bill targets improved child protection services systems, improved training programs for mandatory reporters and child workers, and enhanced service collaboration and interagency communication across systems. It does so by addressing the following topics in pertinent sections of the legislation:

Differential Response
Differential response allows greater flexibility in investigations and better emphasis on prevention, by offering more than one method of response to reports of abuse and neglect. This approach recognizes the variation in the nature of reports and the value of responding differently.

The bill adds differential response as an eligible use of state grants and requires states to identify “as applicable” policies and procedures around its use. The bill also requires HHS to disseminate information on differential response best practices. Furthermore, differential response is added as an eligible topic of research and personnel training under the discretionary grants.

Domestic Violence
CAPTA‘s findings are amended by recognizing the co-occurrence of child maltreatment and domestic violence. The bill then adds services for children exposed to domestic violence as an eligible expenditure under the state grants and requires states “where appropriate” to show procedures in place to address the co-occurrence of child maltreatment and domestic violence. The bill also requires HHS to disseminate information on effective programs and best practices that address this co-occurrence and ameliorate its negative effects. Discretionary grant programs providing research, training, and technical assistance are each amended to include domestic violence as an eligible target. Finally, services and treatment to children and their non-abusing caregiver are added to eligible CBCAP services.

Substance Abuse
Here again, CAPTA‘s findings are amended by recognizing the relationship between child maltreatment and substance abuse. Furthermore, the collaboration between substance abuse treatment services and maltreatment prevention services is promoted by including substance abuse as an eligible topic under the research, technical assistance, and program innovation discretionary grants.

For the first time, tribes are recognized in CAPTA by including tribal representatives on the advisory board and, in that forum, treating tribes as states. Tribes are also eligible for discretionary grants, but not the basic state grants.

Posted by admin - March 4, 2011 at 10:27 pm

Categories: Child Abuse Laws   Tags: , , , ,