Obama Defended Rights for Violent Sex Offenders, then Voted Present

Sen. Obama in 2006 / AP
October 25, 2012

Long before President Barack Obama went on a late night comedy show and proclaimed "Rape is rape. It is a crime," he defended the rights of violent sex offenders and voted present on a bill to strengthen Illinois law against violent sex offenders.

In 2001, HB 2088 came before the Illinois State Senate. The bill, which became law, sought to provide greater access of records to determine whether or not violent sex offenders should be committed. Obama took to the floor of the Illinois Senate and argued for the rights of violent sex offenders to due process.

Senator Obama: You know, this is a difficult issue and so I’m not going to belabor this, but I do want to point out, this is a law that basically allows us to commit persons who’ve committed a sexually violent offense after they’ve served their time. So, let’s say they – they’ve been charged with some sexual assault – serious behavior, they’ve served their time. Afterwards, they’re – we now have a provision in the law that says, well, if we’ve determined that they are, in fact, dangerous, we can continue to commit them without due process and without the possibility of any mechanism to get them eventually released. Now, up until this point, there have been some safeguards in place that say that all the rules that apply to a criminal trial and the – the rules of criminal evidence would apply to this commitment procedure because, although it’s technically a civil procedure, the consequences are obviously very similar to incarceration. This eliminates that, in addition to the – the changes in the – in the juvenile records. I say that not because I think it’s going to change any votes, but I think it’s important to put on the record that, if fact, we are making it easier to commit these individuals and we’re now also going to be able to access records, conceivably from twenty years previously, their juvenile records, to supplement or buttress our decision to commit these person. So, I just wanted to get that read into the record.

After such an impassioned defense of violent sex offenders, Obama failed to vote in the negative or affirmative. When HB 2088 came to vote on the Senate floor, Obama voted present. During an illustrious career in the Illinois State Senate, Obama voted present nearly 130 times.

Obama and Democrats have accused Republicans of waging a war on women for months. In reality, Obama has been waging his own war on women. When asked about the gender pay gap by Katherine Fenton during the second debate, Obama failed to mention that his White House pays women less than men.

It is unclear how many of the felons who will vote for Obama are violent sex offenders.