- Sen. Patrick Leahy's hate crimes bill, amending the National
Defense Authorization Act, effectively passed the Senate tonight at about
eleven o'clock p.m. EDT. A call for cloture, or termination of debate after
thirty hours, was passed 63 to 28. Clearly, the Senate majority had spoken.
Once cloture is invoked there is usually little more that can be done to
- There was no floor debate. A complete end run had been
done around adequate Senate hearings, a Mark-up session and Rules Committee
debate. Total Senate debate of the hate bill amounted to little more than
a brief "kangaroo" hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee
several weeks ago. Witnesses, which included Attorney General Eric Holder
were stacked 4 to 2 against conservatives.
- Passage occurred despite massive protest from the Christian/conservative
right (even more than yesterday) with only the very smallest percentage
of calls today in favor of the hate bill.
- Yet Protest Made a Difference
- Earlier Thursday evening the Senate finally assembled
a quorum and voted down, 62 to 29, Sen. Hatch's amendment. It would require
the federal government to conduct a study to determine if the states are
not enforcing the law against violent hate crimes. Citing Attorney General
Eric Holder's recent testimony in Judiciary, Hatch confirmed that states
are already "doing a good job."
- Then Senator Sam Brownback submitted an amendment which
would include in the hate bill the most specific statement (part of the
"Religious Freedom Act," passed in 1993 by Congress 97-3) that
only speech that threatens imminent incitement of violence will be punishable
under the hate bill. Speech that falls short of such actual incitement
will be protected.
- Sen. Leahy earlier said he had no problem with inclusion
of Brownback's amendment. Although he voted against it, the amendment passed
overwhelmingly 78-13. Approval of Brownback's amendment is a great victory,
testimony to the pressure put on liberals even in the past two days. Most
Senate Democrats were clearly eager to mollify, to some degree, the overwhelming
anger at the hate bill from their constituents this week. Their House counterparts,
under far less pressure eleven weeks ago, would never have made such a
- Inclusion of Brownback's amendment should help safeguard
free speech from the pulpit or airwaves, except in the cases of the most
blatant, immediate incitement to violence. It helps neutralize the extremely
threatening language of the 1968 hate crimes law, Title 18, sec. 2A, which
says if anyone "induces," through speech, commission of a violent
hate crime the speaker will be tried "as a principal" alongside
the active offender in federal court.
- S. 909 remains a massive invasion of state's rights in
law enforcement in violation of the 10th Amendment. It violates the 14th
Amendment by exalting certain groups, including homosexual pedophiles,
above the majority. But, thanks to massive pressure on liberal Senators,
especially during the last two days, and the initiative of Sen. Brownback,
at least the 1st Amendment may not be as imminently threatened as before.
- Let the Anti-Defamation League teach you how they have
saddled 45 states with hate laws capable of persecuting Christians, and
spearhead attempts to pass the federal hate crimes bill: <http://www.adl.org/99hatecrime/intro.asp>http://www.adl.org/99hatecrime/intro.asp.
- TALK SHOW HOSTS: Interview Rev. Ted Pike on this subject.
Call (503) 631-3808.
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