Issue: S. 937, COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act. Question: On Passage of the Bill, S. 937, As Amended (3/5 vote required).
Result: Passed in Senate, 94 to 1, 5 not voting. Subsequently passed in House, Roll Call 145, 5-18-21. Became Public Law 117–13 (signed by the President, 5-20-21). GOP and Democrats scored.
Freedom First Society: The primary reason for opposition to this legislation should be its focus on “hate crime” as opposed to crime itself. Such focus supports the Leftist agenda to use the force of government ostensibly to promote “equity.” The victim’s race or sexual orientation becomes more important than the severity of the crime.
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There are several other clear constitutional objections to this measure, which are apparent from reading the Bill Summary by Congressional Research Services (see Read More, below). The “COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act” is not a new revolutionary advance of Big Brother government. It is a continuation of previous unconstitutional usurpations.
We give a blue check mark to Senator Josh Hawley, the sole GOP senator who voted against this measure. The other 94 who voted get red X’s. (The four senators who did not vote were Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Mike Lee (R-UT), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Tina Smith (D-MN).
We have assigned (good vote) to the Nays and (bad vote) to the Yeas. (P = voted present; ? = not voting; blank = not listed on roll call.)
Bill Summary (Congressional Research Service):
Passed Senate (04/22/2021)
COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act
This bill requires a designated officer or employee of the Department of Justice (DOJ) to facilitate the expedited review of hate crimes and reports of hate crimes.
DOJ must issue guidance for state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies on establishing online hate crime reporting processes, collecting data disaggregated by protected characteristic (e.g., race or national origin), and expanding education campaigns.
Additionally, DOJ and the Department of Health and Human Services must issue guidance aimed at raising awareness of hate crimes during the COVID-19 (i.e., coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic.
The bill establishes grants for states to create state-run hate crimes reporting hotlines. It also authorizes grants for states and local governments to implement the National Incident-Based Reporting System and to conduct law enforcement activities or crime reduction programs to prevent, address, or respond to hate crimes.
Finally, in the case of an individual convicted of a hate crime offense and placed on supervised release, the bill allows a court to order that the individual participate in educational classes or community service as a condition of supervised release.
Freedom First Society Analysis: S. 937 was originally sponsored by Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI). Subsequently, she and Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), another very liberal senator, introduced an amendment to S. 937, S.Amdt. 1445, to make it “bipartisan,” which was accepted by unanimous consent. It was this amended version that was accepted by both chambers and signed into law.
Every paragraph in the “Bill Summary” above cites a provision or provisions of the legislation that are simply unconstitutional. For example: “The bill establishes grants” enables the federal government to “buy” state “subservience” to its campaign against “hate crime,” a reversal of the state-federal government relationship intended by America’s Founding Fathers.
One, will look in vain for any federal authority to intrude into such purely state matters. Nevertheless, there is already a body of federal law allowing federal prosecution of certain hate crimes, which this Act would build on (e.g., Title I of the Civil Rights Act or 1968).
And the last paragraph, allowing a court to provide conditions of probation is an absolutely audacious case of federal overreach.
Instead of chasing hate crime, the federal government should focus on “undoing” its attack on religion and the family, which has spawned an increase in violent criminals. In his 1969 book, Journey into Darkness, John Douglas, the legendary FBI profiler and expert on the criminal personality, argued:
Unfortunately, no matter what we do with our criminal justice system, the only thing that is going to cut down appreciably on crimes of violence and depravity is to stop manufacturing as many criminals…. [T]he real struggle must be where it has always been: in the home.
And the home has been the target of the liberal agenda for decades.
The leadership to reduce criminal violence has to come from an informed electorate, inspiring legislators to dance to a different tune.