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SEC. 8. RULE OF CONSTRUCTION.
Nothing in this Act, or the amendments made by this Act, shall be construed to prohibit any expressive conduct protected from legal prohibition by, or any activities protected by the free speech or free exercise clauses of, the First Amendment to the Constitution.
Originally posted by Frankidealist35
I see yet a lot of internet rumors about the bill, probably, by people who think they're trying to sound all important by spinning a random theory... which I think in turns discredits us.
I don't quite understand... why there is a lot of talk against this bill.
Gail Heriot, a member of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, was one of two (out of six) witnesses testifying against the bill on June 25 before the Senate Judiciary Committee. She laid out precisely how the law could be abused, and concluded:
No one can deny the horror of violent crimes inspired by hatred of any kind. This is something upon which all decent people can agree. But it is precisely in those situations – where all decent people agree on the need to "do something" – that mistakes are made. Passage of the vaguely-worded prohibitions in S. 909 would be a giant step toward the federalization of all crime. Given the many civil liberties issues that would raise, including the routine potential of double jeopardy prosecutions, this is a step that members of the Senate should think twice before they take.
In addition, the bill's wording guarantees future interpretive mischief, Heriot notes:
Back in 1998, attorneys at the Department of Justice, eager to expand federal authority, drafted language for the bill that would create federal jurisdiction over many cases that can't honestly be regarded as hate crimes – at least not as that term is understood by most Americans. The fact is that, despite the misleading use of the words "hate crime," [the bill] does not actually require that the defendant be inspired by hatred in order to convict. It is sufficient if he acts "because of" someone's actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. Consider:
- Rapists are seldom indifferent to the gender of their victims. They are always chosen "because of" their gender.
- A thief might well steal only from the disabled because, in general, they are less able to defend themselves. Literally, they're chosen "because of" their disability.
- Suppose a burglar is surprised when the husband and wife who reside in the home return earlier than expected. The burglar shoots the husband and kills him, but finding himself unable to shoot a woman, turns and runs. Again, literally, the husband was killed "because of" his gender.
#1 The proposed federal hate crimes bill virtually ensures that some defendants will face double jeopardy, whatever the outcome of their cases. It all depends on the whims of the folks occupying the Attorney General's office, who may want to score political points at a defendant's expense.
#2 One of the bill's more dangerous features is its boldly stated authorization for the feds to intervene in any case they determine has not met "the federal interest in eradicating bias-motivated violence." Under current law, the feds can narrowly invoke their authority in cases where a "hate crime" has prevented someone from engaging in federally protected activities such as voting. The new law opens wide the door for the feds to barge in.
#3 The bill also represents yet another abuse of the Constitution's Commerce Clause, using it to justify federal intervention upon the flimsiest tie-ins to interstate trade.
#4 Hate crime laws lay the groundwork for assaults on freedom of speech and freedom of religion. We can look to our northern neighbor for clues about what happens when such laws are enacted. In Saskatchewan, Canada, a newspaper publisher and a man who placed a newspaper ad faced jail and were fined $4,500 each, merely for running an ad containing references to several Bible verses regarding homosexuality. A college teacher who wrote a letter to the editor affirming traditional morality was suspended. And best-selling author Mark Steyn (America Alone), has faced charges in national and provincial tribunals for the supposed "hate crime" of reporting what Muslim leaders in Europe themselves say about changing demographics
By perpetuating unequal treatment under the law, hate crime laws simply reinforce divisions between different ethnic groups. Further, their primary function is to criminalize a person's thoughts during the commission of a crime, in a far more insidious way than the law's traditional focus on the accused's level of intent. By ratcheting up penalties for crimes committed against members of protected classes, they assign greater value to some people over others. Not insignificantly, there is also the problem of the 14th Amendment's ban on laws that classify persons on the basis of race. And hate crimes statistics are manipulated to create the appearance of a crisis where one does not necessarily exist.
(D) the verdict or sentence obtained pursuant to State charges left demonstratively unvindicated the Federal interest in eradicating bias-motivated violence.
If any provision of this Act, an amendment made by this Act, or the application of such provision or amendment to any person or circumstance is held to be unconstitutional, the remainder of this Act, the amendments made by this Act, and the application of the provisions of such to any person or circumstance shall not be affected thereby
Originally posted by Frankidealist35
reply to post by mikerussellus
That's a question I've thought about too. But when you think about it- hate crimes aren't usually committed against whites... we aren't usually on the receiving end of hate crimes that often. I would agree that there shouldn't be a racial slant here- but- this bill does nothing that people against it seem to say that it does.