“Crush video” vote in Congress shows silliness runs deep

Back in 1999, as a Member of Congress, I cast one of 42 votes against a proposed federal law that would ban the depiction of animal cruelty.  The bill passed overwhelmingly, and was signed into law by then-President Clinton.  I voted against the measure not because I endorsed or favored the activity proposed to be federally banned — so-called “crush videos” of animals being killed, generally by women’s feet in high heels.  I had never heard that such a disgusting and ridiculous fetish even existed, before the measure was presented to us in the House that year.  I voted against it — as I suspect did all other 41 “nay” votes — because there was simply no need or constitutional basis for a federal law criminalizing such behavior.  Animal cruelty laws in every state already addressed the problem.

This past April, more than a decade after the 1999 law went into effect, the Supreme Court struck it down, as being impermissibly vague and overly broad; and specifically violative of the First Amendment.

California Republican Rep. Elton Gallegly, the prime mover of the 1999 legislation, and apparently still of the mind that the federal government just must act to protect small animals already protected under state law, quickly redrafted the bill in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling, and presented it to the full House for a vote late last month.  In a revealing glimpse of  just how much more supportive generally this Congress is of federal government power than that in 1999, there were only three House members this time who voted against the measure on July 22nd. 

I am glad to report that two of the three “nay” votes in support of constitutional federalism, hailed from my home state of Georgia — Reps. Tom Graves and Paul Broun (Texan Ron Paul was the third vote).  Even some of the more conservative members of the Georgia delegation, who had voted against this unnecessary expansion of federal power in 1999, voted in favor this latest go-round; Republican Reps. Jack Kingston and John Linder apaprently have  developed a more benign view of enhanced federal power in the past decade. 

Clearly, proponents of limited federal government power have their work cut out for them, when it comes to convincing Members of Congress to respect principles of federalism and limited government power, especially in an election year.

11 comments Add your comment

Just say NO to the messianic state

August 6th, 2010
8:16 am

All too often people look to the civil government to save them, and by extension, society, from all forms of perceived evil. Yet our founders understood that the sole purpose of the civil government is to protect the people by punishing those who infringe on those people’s life, liberty or property. Period. Thank you, Bob, for your principled vote in 1999. And thank you, Paul and Tom (and Ron) for being faithful to the oath you took to Almighty God to uphold the Constitution. Too bad that the rest of the Congress perjured themselves.

nelsonhoward

August 6th, 2010
9:00 am

That is what I like about this column, there is always something new. I never heard of a “crush video.” Crush videos, also known as squish or trampling videos, cater to to fetishists who gain sexual gratification from watching women torture and kill small animals by stepping on them.

There is a public law against this activity alluded to in the column. However, there is an exception. The law against it does not apply to any depiction that has serious religious, political, JOURNALISTIC or historical value.

All I know is, it is a trappers way of killing an animal, stepping on it so that the animal is unable to inflate its lungs.

A Voice

August 6th, 2010
10:37 am

The real animal cruelty is to the American people. We are allowing the government to treat us like sheep and we are being crushed by big government, out of control spending and over taxation by power happy elected officials, most of whom have never had a real job and that think they are entitled and the rules of the masses don’t apply to them. Unless we wake up, the “crush” videos will be of the American sheep.

Jefferson

August 6th, 2010
10:57 am

Spending is high, but taxes are low.

Jethro

August 6th, 2010
4:53 pm

Hmmm…4 comments. Guess this wasn’t such an enthralling piece after all.

sam

August 6th, 2010
10:53 pm

Whether or not there are videos made of them, ignorant and mean people will always commit horrific acts. The best way to crush this kind of activity, is cut off the foot of the person doing the crushing. That would likely slow it way down. We are too namby pamby in punishing bad guys in this country. Singapore has it right. You don’t break laws there because consequences are consistent and severe. Accordingly, the people who are good people don’t have to worry so much about the idiots.

Bu Bar

August 7th, 2010
10:58 am

I have a dog that will bite any one black that comes in my yard. I can not scold him becaue they have no buisness on my property. This is his yard and I reward him with doggie treats. If the ‘annointed’ one comes in the yard, he will be mauled also….

qualifications.com

August 8th, 2010
5:18 am

………. *NOW HIRING* ……….
.
Position: Governor of the State of Georgia
.
Educational Qualifications: High School Degree
.
Georgia can do better than this !

LeeH1

August 8th, 2010
3:35 pm

This bill is obviously unconstitutional. At the time the constitution was passed, there were many animal cruelty activities which were legal. Bear bating, which had a bear chained to a post then worried by hunting dogs, was popular. So were public dog fights. So was public hanging, public whipping and public humiliation of human beings, who were being treated like animals.

For those who believe in the original interpretation of the constitution, these items were not illegal, and therefore should not now be a matter of federal law.

I’m glad law makers were able to move on, and evolve from these early public spectacles.

By the way, one of the earliest laws protecting children came only after some of the laws were passed protecting animals. In one famous case, a lawyer pleaded with a judge to declare a little girl “an animal”, so she would have at least some protection from an abusive parent under law.

Under the original interpretation of the constitution, this would be wrong.

Stop

August 12th, 2010
2:14 pm

@Bu Bar “If the ‘annointed’ one comes in the yard, he will be mauled also….”

No worries – I’m sure the President won’t.
Also – call him by his name…please stop calling him the “Anointed One” – because he is NOT Christ…

Your comments before your statement above is cause enough for me to pray for you…

Linda

September 2nd, 2010
8:39 pm

WHAT DOES ANIMAL CRUELTY HAVE TO WITH FREEDOM OF SPEECH!?????
PEOPLE ARE ARESSTED EVEYDAY FOR FREEDOM OF SPEECH, WHEN THEY USE SPRAY PAINT ALL OVER SOMEONES HOUSE OR BUILDINGS BECAUSE THEY ARE OF A DIFFERENT RACE OR COLOR..SO WHY ARE THEY ARRESSTED? WOULDN’T THAT BE FREEDOM OF SPEECH? NOT THAT I CONDONE THAT EITHER! IT’S ALL SO DISGUSTING!