Pres. Bush Pushes New Amendment

WASHINGTON?Victims of violent crime, too often an afterthought in the courts, deserve a constitutional amendment guaranteeing their rights, President Bush said Tuesday.

“The protection of victims’ rights is one of those rare instances when amending the Constitution is the right thing to do,” he said, endorsing a proposal introduced Monday in the Senate.

If approved by two-thirds of the House and Senate, and then ratified by at least 38 of the states, the amendment would declare:

“The rights of victims of violent crime, being capable of protection without denying the constitutional rights of those accused of victimizing them, are hereby established and shall not be denied by any state or the United States.”

It would require that victims be notified of public court proceedings, allow victims to testify in hearings, and require courts to consider claims of restitution for victims.