99th House of Delegates Mass Meeting: Terry Beatley, Catherine Crabill: tomato, tah-mah-toh?

For those that are unaware of Terry Beatley is, she’s the woman that managed to get a special grand jury convened in an attempt to indict a movie rental business in Lancaster County for creating a ‘public nuisance’ because they were renting pornographic movies. They managed to get an indictment against the business, but I can’t find out online what ended up happening with the case. Regardless, I’m sure the Commonwealth’s Attorney in Lancaster County enjoyed having his time wasted when he’s busy deciding whether he has the time to prosecute robbers, burglars, etc. You know, real criminals; not a case that arises from someone wanting the criminal justice system to dictate the business practices of a company.

She’s also the woman that sent letters to The Free Lance–Star et al. last year complaining about Albert Pollard’s “anti-family voting record”. Yeah, Pollard’s “anti-family” when he’s married with three kids versus his opponent at the time who’s a divorce attorney. Perhaps someone should tell Republicans in the 99th district that it isn’t politically wise to attack someone that routinely wins the district handily (consider the percentage of votes he has gotten: 53.0% [1999], 62.0% [2001], 65.1% [2003], 61.5% [2005], 57.2% [2008]) and is a personally likable guy as “anti-family”. But that’s a topic for a whole other post.

Anyway, to the point of this post: After being introduced by Representative Rob Wittman (R-1st), Terry Beatley gave at least a five minute speech on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. For those unfamiliar with the convention, it details various rights and protections that should be afforded to children by the signatories. The convention was signed by President Clinton back in 1995 but the Senate has so far failed to ratify the convention. The United States has, however, ratified two optional protocols of the convention, one prohibiting the use of child soldiers, and the other prohibiting child slavery, prostitution, and pornography and certain types of child labor.

I will say upfront that I’m not a fan of this convention based on my reading of it. For one, it provides that “[n]either capital punishment nor life imprisonment without possibility of release shall be imposed for offences committed by persons below eighteen years of age” (Article 37(a)), which means if this convention was ratified by the Senate, Lee Boyd Malvo would be eligible for release from prison (he’s currently doing life without the possibility of parole). (Capital punishment for offenses committed when someone was a juvenile was determined to be “cruel and unusual punishment” by the Supreme Court of the United States in Roper v. Simmons, so that’s not a possibility anymore anyway.)

But there’s a distinction from concerns such as those and what Terry Beatley had to say: For one, she said that the convention prohibits corporal punishment of children. If she had bother reading the bloody thing, she would see that nowhere in the convention is corporal punishment even mentioned. In fact, while 198 nations have ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, there are only 24 nations that actually prohibit corporal punishment. Doesn’t seem to be much correlation between ratifying the convention and prohibiting the practice of corporal punishment now does it?

Just like Catherine Crabill, who thinks that there “there is an agenda that is in our Public Law to surrender our country to the United Nations”, Terry Beatley thinks the United Nations is going to take your children from you.

Hopefully there aren’t as many nuts at the Republican Party of Virginia convention (that I will be live hate-blogging) as there were at the 99th Mass Meeting.