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Chris Field- Contributor

Chris Field is Editor of Human Events Online [go to Field index]

Watch What You Think
Federal hate crimes...
[Chris Field] 6/10/04

In one of his "Washington Updates" this week, Family Research President Tony Perkins alerted readers that Hate Crimes legislation may well rear its ugly head once again. Perkins wrote that there has been talk "of attaching an amendment to the Defense appropriation bill that would make so-called hate crimes into a federal offense."

Not surprisingly, liberal Sen. Ted Kennedy is behind the move to force what is essentially "thought crime" legislation down the throats of the American people. Unfortunately, one of his partners in this effort, according to Perkins, is GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch. By lending his name to Kennedy's horrible legislation, Hatch makes the bill appear less onerous in the minds of many conservatives who might otherwise oppose it.

Because I've not seen the amendment in question (nor can I confirm that it actually exists yet), I cannot comment on its specific contents. However, there is a Hate Crimes Bill (S 966) that Kennedy introduced last summer which will more than likely serve as a guide for any Hate Crimes amendment. Here are some of the bill's provisions:

  • Defines "hate crime" as "a crime in which the defendant intentionally selects a victim, or in the case of a property crime, the property that is the object of the crime, because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, disability, or sexual orientation of any person."
  • Finds that "hate crimes" affect interstate commerce (this is the constitutional justification and authority supporters of the legislation invoke to push a bill like this) by "impeding the movement of members of targeted groups and forcing such members to move across State lines to escape the incidence or risk of such violence; and by preventing members of targeted groups from purchasing goods and services, obtaining or sustaining employment, or participating in other commercial activity."
  • Allows federal prosecutors to take jurisdiction from State law enforcement entities over "hate crimes" if the official believes that (1) "the State does not have jurisdiction or does not intend to exercise jurisdiction" OR (2) "the State has requested that the Federal Government take jurisdiction" OR (3) "the State does not object to the Federal Government assuming jurisdiction" OR (4) "the verdict or sentence obtained pursuant to State charges left demonstratively unvindicated the Federal interest in eradicating bias-motivated violence."
  • Creates two different types of offenses: a blanket federal crime if the offense is committed because of "actual or perceived race, color, religion, or national origin" and a provisional federal crime if the offense is committed because of "actual or perceived religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or disability" and occurs in way that affects interstate or foreign commerce. (The bill provides a number of ways commerce could be affected.)

Folks, this is a dangerous and unconstitutional bill. Don't let your Congressmen get away with supporting it. [I've got more on this bill here.] CRO

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