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25 June 2002
2002 Ron Paul 58:1
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, the policy behind H.R. 4679, the Lifetime Consequences for Sex Offenders Act, is unobjectionable. Given the high rates of recidivism among sex criminals, it is certainly legitimate to take steps to reduce the likelihood that a paroled sex criminal will commit further crimes. In fact, given the likelihood that a sex offender will attempt to commit another sex crime, it is reasonable to ask why rapists and child molesters are not simply imprisoned for life?
2002 Ron Paul 58:2
However, Mr. Speaker, questions of the proper punishment for sexual crimes are not issues properly under federal jurisdiction. The Constitution grants the federal government jurisdiction over only three crimes: treason, counterfeiting, and piracy. It is hard to stretch the definition of treason, counterfeiting, or piracy to include sex crimes. Therefore, even though I agree with the policy behind H.R. 4679, I must remind my colleagues that the responsibility for investigating, prosecuting and punishing sex crimes is solely that of state and local governments.
2002 Ron Paul 58:3
We have been reminded by both Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and former U.S. Attorney General Ed Meese that more federal crimes, while they make politicians feel good, are neither constitutionally sound nor prudent. Rehnquist has stated that The trend to federalize crimes that traditionally have been handled in state courts . . . threatens to change entirely the nature of our federal system. Meese stated that Congress tendency in recent decades to make federal crimes out of offenses that have historically been state matters has dangerous implications both for the fair administration of justice and for the principle that states are something more than mere administrative districts of a nation governed mainly from Washington.
2002 Ron Paul 58:4
In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, while I am in fundamental agreement with the policies expressed in H.R. 4679, the Lifetime Consequences for Sex Offenders Act, I must remind my colleagues that this is an area over which Congress has no constitutional responsibility. I hope my colleagues will join me in restoring state and local governments constitutional authority over criminal activities not related to treason, piracy, and counterfeiting.