Skip to comments.Senate passage of hate-crimes bill wins plaudits
Posted on 07/20/2009 8:31:46 AM PDT by rickgyt
Senate passage of hate-crimes bill wins plaudits By Eric Fingerhut · July 17, 2009
Jewish groups are hailing the Senate's passage of legislation expanding federal involvement in hate crimes. The Jewish Council for Public Affairs, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and B'nai B'rith International have all released statements today praising the vote attaching the hate-crimes bill to the defense authorization bill.
"Bias-motivated crimes have terrorized families and communities for far too long," said RAC director Rabbi David Saperstein. "The Senates vote for the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act is a celebration of tolerance and respect and will give law enforcement the tools necessary to battle hate-motivated violence. Every life has incalculable value, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender or disability, and this legislation will work to ensure that all of Gods children are treated with the respect and dignity they deserve."
"While all crimes are tragic, those that target individuals or groups specifically because of their race, religion, sexual orientation or other classifications, are particularly heinous," said JCPA president Rabbi Steve Gutow. "When an individual is harmed simply because of his or her identity, it harms our communities and entire nation. This legislation would clearly demonstrate that our government is committed to securing dignity for all people in our nation.
Saperstein responded to some conservative criticism of the bill, emphasizing that "the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment are precious; they cannot and will not be infringed by last nights vote. The hate crime protections included in the legislation deal solely with violent conduct and no person, whether a member of the clergy or otherwise, will be prosecuted for their thoughts, words, or beliefs."
The legislation would permit greater federal involvement in investigating hate crimes and expand the federal definition of such crimes to include those motivated by gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability. Supporters say the legislation would allow federal authorities to pursue hate-crimes cases when local authorities are either unable or unwilling to do so. A similar bill passed in the House, and President Obama has said he will sign the bill.
After the jump, statements from the RAC, JCPA and BBI:
First the RAC:
In response to last nights passage of the Leahy/Collins/Kennedy/Snowe hate crimes amendment (The Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act) to S. 1390, the FY 2010 Department of Defense Authorization bill, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
We welcome last nights long-overdue Senate vote in favor of hate crimes prevention. Bias-motivated crimes have terrorized families and communities for far too long. The Senates vote for the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act is a celebration of tolerance and respect and will give law enforcement the tools necessary to battle hate-motivated violence. Every life has incalculable value, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender or disability, and this legislation will work to ensure that all of Gods children are treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.
The rights guaranteed by the First Amendment are precious; they cannot and will not be infringed by last nights vote. The hate crime protections included in the legislation deal solely with violent conduct and no person, whether a member of the clergy or otherwise, will be prosecuted for their thoughts, words, or beliefs.
The passage of this amendment is an exciting step in the decade-long struggle to protect the safety and physical wellbeing of all Americans. It will give law enforcement the training and resources they need to combat the violence that results from hatred and intolerance and help heal affected communities. We call on both houses of Congress to move the bill swiftly through conference and to the Presidents desk for enactment.
Senate approval of the Leahy, Collins, Kennedy, Snowe Hate Crimes Amendment to the FY2010 Department of Defense Authorization Bill is a key step forward in broadening the definition of hate crimes and providing additional federal resources to fight bias motivated violence, says a leading Jewish advocacy group.
The Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), along with other members of the American Jewish community, have long supported enactment of hate crimes legislation and applauded todays passage of the amendment, which is identical to the Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act. The Senate Amendment was proposed by U.S. Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine).
The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act would expand federal hate crime laws to provide better protection for vulnerable populations and increase resources to assist local law enforcement agencies in their efforts to deter, investigate and prosecute hate crimes. This legislation would also expand the definition of a hate crime to include violent crimes based on gender, gender-identity, sexual orientation, and disability.
The concept of kavod habriot, or human dignity, implores one to honor all living beings, said Rabbi Steve Gutow, president of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA). Judaism views the dignity of every individual as one of its greatest values, and a tenet we have strived to uphold. While all crimes are tragic, those that target individuals or groups specifically because of their race, religion, sexual orientation or other classifications, are particularly heinous. When an individual is harmed simply because of his or her identity, it harms our communities and entire nation. This legislation would clearly demonstrate that our government is committed to securing dignity for all people in our nation.
In April of this year, the JCPA hosted a national teleconference for its network of Jewish grassroots organizations and community relations professionals to discuss the importance of the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act and encourage its passage. Participants heard from one of the legislations original U.S. House cosponsors, U.S. Representative Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), and noted hate crimes prevention advocate Michael Lieberman from the Anti-Defamation League, a JCPA national member agency.
The Leahy, Collins, Kennedy, Snowe Hate Crimes Amendment passed the Senate by unanimous consent after a 63-28 procedural vote.
Now, B'nai B'rith International:
Bnai Brith International welcomes the Senate passage of the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act. The legislation would enable greater federal involvement to investigate and punish hate crimes. Matthew Shepard was a gay student at the University of Wyoming who was left to die after he was tied to a fence and beaten in 1998.
The legislation would designate as hate crimes those offenses motivated by gender identity, sexual orientation, gender, and mental and physical disability. It would also provide grants for state and local authorities to investigate and prosecute hate crimes, and would empower the federal government to prosecute cases if states asked for help or were reluctant to exercise their own authority.
Bnai Brith has worked on behalf of expanded hate crimes legislation since it was first proposed a decade ago.
This expansion of federal hate crimes laws affords protection to groups long disenfranchised from the system, said Bnai Brith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin. This new measure means the most vulnerable in our society have an important new cloak of protection. Law enforcement agencies at all levels will now be able to punish hate crimes with the full backing of the U.S. government.
The House has already passed a similar measure. We urge the House and Senate to quickly reconcile their versions of the legislation. President Obama has promised to sign a hate crimes bill into law.
What a trash piece of legislation. This only elevates crimes against certain groups above others and is pure discrimination. Soon, it will be used to eviscerate the First Amendment.
How can a bi-sexual killing a homosexual, after a drug deal gone bad, be considered a “hate crime”??
Equal treatment before the law ... unless you are a member of a protected group, like Democrats are.
Goodbye to another chunk of Liberty.
The damnable consequence of such a law would be to announce that certain groups are more important than others.
This is bad law making.
It’s also stupid.
“Hate crimes” should always receive more harsh punishment than “love crimes”...../sarc
just wait, all thoughts and opinions contrary to the left and certain “special groups”, will be deemed fighting words and thus a hate crime.
“vote attaching the hate-crimes bill to the defense authorization bill. then voice vote (no recorded vote) good by talk radio”
They try the “voice vote” to claim plausible deniability.
B.S. It was a unanimous vote. Any one against it should have asked for a recorded vote.
I didn’t see a listing for politicians, an oversight perhaps?
Keywords are “increase Federal involvement”
another power grab
Whoops, make that
“expanding federal involvement”
Is thereany-such-thing as a “like” crime?
That does it. I want my foreskin back.
“Jewish groups are hailing the Senate’s passage of legislation expanding federal involvement in hate crimes. The Jewish Council for Public Affairs, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and B’nai B’rith International have all released statements today praising the vote attaching the hate-crimes bill to the defense authorization bill.”
Any Conservative minded Jews on Free Republic ought to take note with this and not donate or do work with or support any of these organizations.
One more chip at free speech.
So-called “hate crime” legislation is nothing more than thought police. Notice, that the ONLY group in America who can be prosecuted for “hate crimes” are white, Christian, heterosexual males. White, Christian, heterosexual males are the only non-protected group in America.
five Republicans help Democrats, with out them it would happen
good by state rights
The Human Rights Council now in every State http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/
The U.N. Convention to Combat Desertification was ratified by the U.S. Senate on October 18, but few Senators yet know that it has been ratified. Senator Craig Thomas (R-WY) introduced a package of 34 treaties, all of which were ratified by a show of hands — no recorded vote.
Initially, Senator Thomas’ office told callers that the Senator had nothing to do with the ratification. On December 8, his office called to explain that Senator Thomas just happened to be on the Senate Floor late in the afternoon of October 18 — and was asked by the leadership to handle procedurally, the package of treaties. Senator Thomas has asked the Foreign Relations Committee to explain how, and why, the Desertification Treaty was included in the package.
Also, the Left can't seem to make up its mind as to whether it wants special "rights" or euthanasia for the disabled.
got an answer from C-Span’s Capitol Questions concerning this vote and House rules...
Two nights ago, the House voted in favor of suspending the rules and passing a bill. It was a voice vote, and there were only about 20 Congressmen present on the floor at the time. (The bill was H.R. 4210.) How can a bill be allowed to pass when so few Representatives are present? What are the rules concerning a quorum being required? If the motion to reconsider is immediately tabled, does that mean that the vote is final even though only 20 members were present?
Suspension of the rules takes a 2/3 vote to pass, whether it’s by roll-call [a certain discernible number] or by voice vote [judgment of the chair that 2/3 said “aye.”]
Members may choose to pass anything by voice vote. They have several procedures to call upon if they wish to get a roll call vote.
Only roll call votes prove the absence of a quorum. If the absence of a quorum [218 in the House; 51 in the Senate] is established, the vote would be invalid.
Although the written rules of the House and the Senate both require that a quorum be present at all times for business to take place, the reality is that it rarely is except for roll-call votes.
This practice is known as a “presumed quorum.” In other words, a quorum is presumed to be present unless it is pointed out that it is not. That would be done by either a point of order that no quorum is present or by the numerical evidence of a roll call vote not adding up to a quorum.
Members can easily make a point of order — and do, often — that no quorum is present. Then business is suspended until a quorum materializes. But the quorum requirement must be enforced from the floor — individual Members must feel strongly enough about it to make the point of order. Otherwise the presumed quorum continues.
As for the motion to reconsider, yes, if it is tabled the vote is final and cannot be reopened for lack of a quorum or for any other reason. See: http://www.c-span.org/questions/weekly85.htm
Best Wishes, Ilona Nickels
C-SPAN Resident Congressional Scholar
So, a bill can be passed no matter how many (or how few) Representatives are present on the floor at the time. As long as nobody present objects to the lack of quorum, and as long as there’s no recorded vote proving the lack of a quorum, the vote is final.
The Dems played the rules like a fiddle.
PS - thank you for your research. I wasn’t aware of C-span’s questions option.
Could Kennedy’s 1969 manslaughter of Mary Jo Kopechne be considered a “hate crime”?