Press Release: Eleanor Smeal on Republican VP Candidate

Statement of Eleanor Smeal for the Feminist Majority Political Action Committee on the Selection of Sarah Palin as Republican Vice Presidential Candidate

For Immediate Release
August 29, 2008

John McCain just doesn’t get it. He doesn’t understand women voters and especially Hillary voters.

Sarah Palin is no Hillary Clinton. You can’t attract Hillary voters and women voters with a woman opposed to what Hillary stands for. Sarah Palin strongly opposes women’s abortion and family planning rights. She is a proponent of teaching creationism in schools; a global warming skeptic, and an opponent on key environmental issues, such as protecting the polar bear in Alaska and is for oil and natural gas drilling in the Artic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). Sarah Palin stands with John McCain, who is opposed to affirmative action for women in public employment, public education and public contracting, is opposed to legislation fighting wage discrimination for women (the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act), is opposed to the Violence Against Women Act, authored by Senator Joe Biden, and has a zero rating with women’s rights groups.

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  1. Violence Against Women Act Becoming a Political Liability

    Senator Joe Biden proudly proclaims that he was regularly and severely beaten by his older sister as a child and as an adolescent. This is the same sister that raised his two sons after his wife and daughter were killed in an auto accident.

    Biden has often claimed that the Violence against Women Act is the greatest achievement of his career. He also claims that a woman cannot be a perpetrator of domestic violence, despite the fact that hundreds of studies show that women commit acts of domestic violence as often as, or more often than men. Many studies also show that lesbian women physically attack their intimate partners at least as often as heterosexual men.

    As a result of Biden’s Violence against Women Act, the federal government pays states to create laws effectively requiring that men be removed from their homes and families without even an allegation of violence, with no legitimate standards of evidence, when a woman makes a claim that she is afraid.

    Elaine Epstein, president of the Massachusetts Bar Association (1999), has said “the facts have become irrelevant… restraining orders are granted to virtually all who apply. Regarding divorce cases, she states “allegations of abuse are now used for tactical advantage”. According to Epstein, who is also a former president of the Massachusetts Women’s Bar Association, restraining orders are doled out “like candy” and “in virtually all cases, no notice, meaningful hearing, or impartial weighing of evidence is to be had.”

    State restraining order laws are starting to fall because they’re unconstitutional. The federal law behind them, written by Joe Biden, is likely to fall as well, not because it isn’t popular, but because it is clearly unconstitutional.

    Supporting Documentation

    Here are some of the facts regarding Biden’s abuse at the hand of his sister. During senate hearings held on December 11, 1990, Biden testified to the abuse.

    This recent CDC study indicates that women between the ages of 18 and 28 initiate reciprocal violence against their intimate partners about as often as men. It also indicates that women initiate non-reciprocal violence against their intimate partners more than twice as often as men.

    Here is a link to a bibliography of over 200 studies indicating that women are as violent as men in their intimate relationships:

    According to the US Department of Justice, women also abuse, neglect and kill their children at significantly higher rates than men. Here’s some of the data on child homicides.

    Research clearly indicates that lesbian battery is at least as common as heterosexual battery.

    Cathy Young reports on the Elaine Epstein quote and the broader issue at here:

    and provides in depth analysis here:

  2. NJ DV Law Overturned Amid Epidemic of False Allegations

    New Jersey’s domestic violence statute has recently been found unconstitutional. The New Jersey Attorney General is taking this case to the state’s Supreme Court.

    The New Jersey Law Journal reports that Judge Richard Russell of Ocean City made the following remarks on tape during a judicial training session regarding the issuance of restraining orders.

    (source – scan of print copy:

    “If I had one message to give you today, it is that your job is not to weigh the parties’ rights as you might be inclined to do as having been private practitioners. Your job is not to become concerned about all the constitutional rights of the man that you’re violating as you grant a restraining order. Throw him out on the street, give him the clothes on his back and tell him, ‘See ya’ around.’ “

    A new municipal judge attending the training session stated “The statute says we should apply just cause in issuing the order.” “You seem to be saying to grant every order.” Russell quickly replied, “Yeah, that’s what I seem to be saying.”

    The article is full of comments from Russell and his colleagues that are equally inflammatory.

    Perhaps you think Russell should have been disbarred for instructing judges to ignore the constitution. In doing so, he violated his greatest responsibility as a judge in the most blatant way possible. Perhaps you think he should have gone to prison.

    Russell now serves on the New Jersey Supreme Court’s State Domestic Violence Working Group, the Executive Committee of the State Bar’s Family Law Section, and the New Jersey Supreme Court’s Family Practice Committee. He currently is the chair of the court’s Child Support Subcommittee.

    Given a recent ruling declaring New Jersey’s domestic violence statute unconstitutional and given the imminent Supreme Court challenge, the truth regarding the real practices that are being used to separate men from their children and their homes must be heard.

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