Why Rape Should Be a Federal Crime

55 Pages Posted: 8 Jan 2018 Last revised: 20 Jan 2018

See all articles by Donald A. Dripps

Donald A. Dripps

University of San Diego School of Law

Date Written: January 2, 2018


Sexual assault remains at high levels despite decades of legal reforms. The recent wave of accusations against public figures signals both the persistence of the problem and a new political climate for addressing it. The Article argues that Congress should make forcible rape a federal crime, to the limits of the Commerce Clause. This would bring federal assets to the fight against rape by redirecting them from enforcement of possessory crimes. The simple statutory proposal might be accompanied by a more ambitious reorganization of the Justice Department to include a Bureau of Violent Crimes. Replies are offered to objections based on federalism, civil liberties, feminism, and systemic feedback loops.

Keywords: rape, sexual assault, federal criminal law

JEL Classification: K14

Suggested Citation

Dripps, Donald A., Why Rape Should Be a Federal Crime (January 2, 2018). San Diego Legal Studies Paper No. 18-324. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3095741 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3095741

Donald A. Dripps (Contact Author)

University of San Diego School of Law ( email )

5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110-2492
United States

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