Skip to comments.Unconstitutional Legislation Threatens Freedoms
Posted on 05/09/2007 10:42:47 AM PDT by agrandis
Unconstitutional Legislation Threatens Freedoms
by Ron Paul
Last week, the House of Representatives acted with disdain for the Constitution and individual liberty by passing HR 1592, a bill creating new federal programs to combat so-called hate crimes. The legislation defines a hate crime as an act of violence committed against an individual because of the victims race, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. Federal hate crime laws violate the Tenth Amendments limitations on federal power. Hate crime laws may also violate the First Amendment guaranteed freedom of speech and religion by criminalizing speech federal bureaucrats define as hateful.
There is no evidence that local governments are failing to apprehend and prosecute criminals motivated by prejudice, in comparison to the apprehension and conviction rates of other crimes. Therefore, new hate crime laws will not significantly reduce crime. Instead of increasing the effectiveness of law enforcement, hate crime laws undermine equal justice under the law by requiring law enforcement and judicial system officers to give priority to investigating and prosecuting hate crimes. Of course, all decent people should condemn criminal acts motivated by prejudice. But why should an assault victim be treated by the legal system as a second-class citizen because his assailant was motivated by greed instead of hate?
HR 1592, like all hate crime laws, imposes a longer sentence on a criminal motivated by hate than on someone who commits the same crime with a different motivation. Increasing sentences because of motivation goes beyond criminalizing acts; it makes it a crime to think certain thoughts. Criminalizing even the vilest hateful thoughts as opposed to willful criminal acts is inconsistent with a free society.
HR 1592 could lead to federal censorship of religious or political speech on the grounds that the speech incites hate. Hate crime laws have been used to silence free speech and even the free exercise of religion. For example, a Pennsylvania hate crime law has been used to prosecute peaceful religious demonstrators on the grounds that their public Bible readings could incite violence. One of HR 1592s supporters admitted that this legislation could allow the government to silence a preacher if one of the preachers parishioners commits a hate crime. More evidence that hate crime laws lead to censorship came recently when one member of Congress suggested that the Federal Communications Commission ban hate speech from the airwaves.
Hate crime laws not only violate the First Amendment, they also violate the Tenth Amendment. Under the United States Constitution, there are only three federal crimes: piracy, treason, and counterfeiting. All other criminal matters are left to the individual states. Any federal legislation dealing with criminal matters not related to these three issues usurps state authority over criminal law and takes a step toward turning the states into mere administrative units of the federal government.
Because federal hate crime laws criminalize thoughts, they are incompatible with a free society. Fortunately, President Bush has pledged to veto HR 1592. Of course, I would vote to uphold the presidents veto.
The anti-American socialists in the Congress are not hiding their agenda anymore. They are out to destroy the Constitution to silence ANY dissent against their socialist agenda. Make no mistake about it. Just read this atrocity and travesty of a bill.
We need Joseph McCarthy back — he was right.
Liberal credo: Punish hate, not crime.
I did. Clarence Thomas was right. The substantial effects test is no test at all. It is a blank check.
OK, FReeper lawyers, help me out here - I've always understood that a felony was a crime in violation of federal statutes, prosecuted by Federal prosecuters who work for the Executive (AG).
How does prosecution of a felony for, say kidnapping, square with the statement above from Congressman Paul?
With the expansion under the guise of th commerce clause and the general welfare clause the feds have enacted a whole new level of laws.
Particularly onerous to me are those that allow Federal prosecution of civil rights violatons after a person has been either convicted or exonerated for the same acts in state courts. The RICO acts are also Petey bad as applied.
The term ‘felony’ isn’t restricted to violations of Federal laws. For example, murder is a felony under the laws of all 50 states.
I'm not a lawyer, but a felony is just a serious crime, as opposed to misdemeanors, which are minor crimes. States have always had both. Committing a felony can get someone sent to the state pen, committing a misdemeanor can keep someone in the county pokey, or may just carry a fine. In OK, stealing less than $25 is a misdemeanor, stealing more is a felony.
Many thanks to all who replied!
“Hate Speech” Legislation, Gun ban legislation, higher taxes, Disarmement, ect. The liberals want it all.
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