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Newspaper editorial: New campus sexual assault bill 'turns the Bill of Rights upside down'

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Ashe Schow,Fifth Amendment,Due Process,Campus Sexual Assault,Rape

An editorial in the Las Vegas Review-Journal discusses the issues caused by Congress’ new campus sexual assault bills, saying the main bill — the Campus Accountability and Safety Act — “turns the Bill of Rights upside down.”

Congress, in an effort to address sexual assault on college campuses (which has been broadened to include regretted drunken hookups) has taken an approach that overcorrects to the point of denying the accused their Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights. The Review-Journal notes this about CASA, and the harm it would cause to students who have been accused.

“[F]ar from ordering colleges to honor the Constitution, the bill turns the Bill of Rights upside down by favoring the interests of the accuser over the rights of the accused, assuming a crime has taken place instead of determining whether a crime took place,” the Review-Journal editorial board wrote.

Indeed, CASA makes no mention of protections for accused students, and if the current landscape of sexual assault hearings on campuses are any indication, more young men will be wrongfully accused and have their lives ruined by an unfair process.

The Review-Journal also points out that the premise on which CASA is based – the myth that 20 percent of college women have been sexually assaulted – has caused Congress to create an “emotion-fueled” response that will “do more harm than good.”

This leads the Review-Journal to conclude that “Rape can destroy lives, but so can false accusations.”

But what is the solution? The Review-Journal suggests students be allowed to carry weapons. That might help, but I’m not sure it’s a good idea to suggest students carry weapons to alcohol-fueled events, which is where a significant number of these supposed sexual assaults occur.

Perhaps a better solution, which the Review-Journal notes, is to make sure accusers call the police.

“Rapists must be punished. But leave criminal investigations and prosecutions to states,” The Review-Journal wrote.

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