I have been complaining that none of mainstream Immigration Reform outfits - like NumbersUSA, FAIR, or CIS - nor the allegedly "Conservative" media will take a position on the baleful and threatening Hate Crimes Bill S.909 - despite many of the individuals involved knowing full well it is part of a deliberate attempt to repress the causes they are supposedly in business to advocate. So it is refreshing to note a couple of exceptions.
Hating Hate Crimes Investor's Business Daily 07/01/2009 i
s a straightforward and direct condemnation:
This new law won't reduce hate one bit, but it will limit your rights...Anyone who values the rule of law in America should reject it...in effect, the justice meted out depends on the victim's status - not on the severity of the crime.
This violates major swaths of the Constitution. It certainly twists the 14th Amendment's "equal protection" clause beyond recognition. And it likewise impinges on First Amendment's guarantees of freedom of speech and thought. And subjecting those guilty of state crimes to additional federal prosecution is double jeopardy.
Equal treatment under the law is a fundamental principle of American jurisprudence. Hate crimes trample this principle by creating a special class of victims.
Congress might mean well, but this is a bad law that will have bad results and only add to our nation's growing divisions.
Some might be surprised that Investor's Business Daily would address this subject, but in fact the paper has published some solid political material over the years.
Where are you, Wall Street Journal?
The Cato Institute's Hate Crime Legislation: A Shocking Disregard for Federalism by David Rittgers July 1 2009 (which incorporates a podcast on the subject) is intellectually more adventurous (if wonkish). It is based on watching last week's Judiciary Committee hearing (webcast on right). Complaining of Judiciary's
casual disregard (if not outright hostility) for the principles of limited government and equality under the law.
The bill federalizes violent acts against victims by reason of their actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability...
The federal government would also be authorized to prosecute whenever "the verdict or sentence obtained pursuant to State charges left demonstratively unvindicated the Federal interest in eradicating bias-motivated violence." While this doesn't violate the letter of the Supreme Court’s Double Jeopardy jurisprudence (the federal and state governments are considered separate sovereigns) it certainly violates its spirit.
Rittgers was particularly appalled, as was I, by the performance of Senator Ben Cardin :
The hearing video shows a complete disregard for limitations on federal power. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) claims that we need a "uniform" law across the states (82 minute mark). This claim...disregards the fact that general police powers belong to the states, not to the federal government.
(Cardin's performance was chilling. He is apparently the second-generation descendent of immigrants from Russia and clearly thinks things were ordered better in the Old Country. I have not seen anything as ominous since watching Commissar Reich back in January.)
The Rittgers essay deserves credit for repudiating a dangerous assertion popular with the legislation's boosters:
Don’t expect the application of this legislation to be the rare and exceptional prosecution that Attorney General Holder promises in his testimony. Janet Cohen testified that her upbringing in a racially divided America decades ago justifies passage of this law. She also proposes that prosecutions with the new law will be "wise" on account of Holder's 'brilliance and integrity."
And to think, we were once a nation of laws, not of men.