In a striking showdown between Senator Carl Levin, the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, and a member of his own party, Mr. Levin said on Tuesday that he would remove a measure aimed at curbing sexual assault in the military from a defense spending bill.
Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, offered a measure that would give military prosecutors rather than commanders the power to decide which sexual assault crimes to try, with the goal of increasing the number of people who report crimes without fear of retaliation. Mr. Levin, Democrat of Michigan, said he would replace Ms. Gillibrand’s measure — which has 27 co-sponsors, including four Republicans — with one that would require a senior military officer to review decisions by commanders who decline to prosecute sexual assault cases. Although Mr. Levin’s measure would change the current system, it would keep prosecution of sexual assault cases within the chain of command, as the military wants.
As Laura Clawson puts it, “Old white man decides to leave military sexual assault decisions in the hands of old white men.”
Between Levin being most formidable obstacle within the Democratic caucus against filibuster reform and now caving to the military on sexual assault, the august senator from Michigan is not exactly ending his career in Ted Kennedy-esque fashion.
Stan notes elsewhere that the Obama Administration has done nothing but lip service on this issue. It’s really unacceptable.