Sen. Claire McCaskill has said she will filibuster her Democratic colleague’s Military Justice Improvement Act, which would remove prosecution decisions for serious crimes like sexual assault from the military command.
The announcement was greeted with cautious optimism from victims’ advocates in Congress, who said that more urgent reform is still needed.
Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin, whose previous decision to overturn a sexual assault conviction sparked a national debate over the military justice system, has been removed from another sexual assault case after refusing to prosecute it.
When the Senate votes on the annual defense appropriation, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s Military Justice Improvement Act won’t be part of it. But the senator says she’s not going away.
Though the National Defense Authorization Act will be passed with no amendments, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has also introduced the Military Justice Improvement Act, which would remove prosecution of sexual assault from the military chain of command, as a stand-alone bill, and she says she will continue to fight for its passage.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s renewed push comes on the heels of a new poll reporting that six in ten Americans support letting independent prosecutors, rather than the chain of command, decide whether to prosecute cases of sexual assault and other serious non-military crimes.
The senator is optimistic that her amendment, the Military Justice Improvement Act, could reach even the 60 votes needed to break a filibuster.
The U.S. Army’s first woman three-star general and its former top psychiatrist join a former Obama Pentagon appointee to argue for removing prosecution of sex crimes by military members from the chain of command.
Studies suggest that Gen Xers like Kirsten Gillibrand question authority and reject seniority, while Baby Boomers like Claire McCaskill treasure loyalty and play by the rules. A proposal to stem the military’s sexual assault crisis may just be the result of generational divide.
A lawsuit filed after the close of an Article 32 hearing in a Naval Academy rape case argues the military justice system is biased against victims of sexual violence.