Sound Politics 
Friday, October 23, 2009
The Congress passed a law that, when signed by President Obama, will make ia a federal crime to assault someone because of their sexual orientation or “gender identity.”
The “Human Rights” Campaign said, “We now can begin the important steps to erasing hate in our country.”
A few thoughts.
First, you cannot end hate through legislation.
Second, government has no business even trying to get people to stop hating. That’s none of its business. Literally. Indeed, its duty is to protect our right to hate, and our faculties that lead us to whatever opinions we might have, including hate.
Third, this law is unconstitutional by the Tenth Amendment. I find it astonishing that anyone thinks this needs to be a federal law, which is utterly insulting to the state legislatures, which are, in fact, perfectly capable of deciding for themselves whether this should be a crime.
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Fourth, this law also runs afoul of the Fifth Amendment right to due process. In our judicial system, motive and intent are two different things, and motive is not a crime. This law makes it a crime. That is why people, correctly, compare it to Thought Police. Some say, but this is different, because the result of the crime is to intimidate a whole class of people; but if that is the case, then you need to show that the person had intent to produce that result … else you really are just punishing motive, which we don’t do. Laws like this are really an end run around the prosecution’s burden of proof.
I would be perfectly willing to support a (state) law that said someone intending to, through a violent act, terrorize or intimidate a group of people, is committing a felony. But that would require evidence, which — despite being constitutionally required — is an unattractive prospect to many. So instead, they just tell us that some for assaulting people are worse than others, and get around that pesky “evidence” thing. And we’re supposed to just nod in approval, because if you don’t, well, you are a dirty hatemonger.
It’s a sad day in America, that we incorrectly think we need such a paternalistic law, and that we are willing to toss aside civil liberties to get it.