Part of the Bay Area News Group

Boxer, Ted Cruz agree on military justice bill

By Josh Richman
Thursday, February 6th, 2014 at 10:55 am in Barbara Boxer, U.S. Senate.

Mark the date: This is one of the few times you ever will see U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer and Ted Cruz supporting the same cause.

Barbara BoxerBoxer, the California liberal, and Cruz, the Tea Party darling from Texas, are among 53 Senators – 44 Democrats and nine Republicans – who have publicly voiced support for a bill to create an independent military justice system. The Senate is expected to vote next week on S.1752, the Military Justice Improvement Act by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., as well as on additional sexual assault reforms sponsored by Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.

“It is time to bring an end to the broken promises of ‘zero tolerance’ for sexual assault. Enough already,” Boxer said in a news release. “It is time to fix our military justice system and to give survivors a chance at the justice they deserve by enacting the Military Justice Improvement Act.”

My Approved PortraitsCruz commended Gillibrand for her leadership on the issue, saying the bill “will address the most serious crimes in the military while enabling commanders to focus on their wartime mission and ensure that the rights of both victims and those accused of crimes are protected. Our strongest allies have adopted similar military justice changes and their experience shows us that this can be done without harming the chain of command or military readiness. I look forward to continue working with her on this important issue.”

Victims of military sexual assault often have described feeling fearful when deciding whether to report the crimes, because the military chain of command has an inherent conflict of interest and bias in deciding whether to prosecute.

The bill moves the decision whether to prosecute any crime punishable by one year or more in confinement to independent, trained, professional military prosecutors who aren’t beholden to the usual chain of command. Excepted from the bill are 37 serious crimes that are uniquely military in nature, such as disobeying orders or going absent without leave, plus all crimes punishable by less than a year behind bars.

[You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.]

  • Mogumbo Gono

    Good. Since Obama is in the military chain of command, maybe he will be the first one in the dock…

  • JohnW

    When I was in the Army, there were two sayings about the military justice system. One was that UCMJ stood for “Uniform Code of Marsupial Justice.” The other was that “military justice is to justice what military music is to music.”

  • Elwood

    The only thing I can remember about military justice is the phrase: “Penetration, however slight, is sufficient to commit the offense.”

  • JohnW

    Well, I hope that was not something you heard due to a personal circumstance, or that “however slight” was not an anatomical reference.