President’s Senior Advisors Recommend Veto of H.R. 1592

Administration on “Hate Crimes” law:  “Unnecessary and Constitutionally Questionable.”

President’s Senior Advisors recommend veto.

In a statement from the Executive Office of the President issued Thursday, May 3, the Administration made clear its position on H.R.1592, The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007, calling the bill “unnecessary and constitutionally questionable.”

“If H.R.1592 were presented to the President,” the statement reads, “his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.”

Earlier this week, H.R.1592 passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 237-180.

The bill calls for stiffer penalties and federal intervention in the prosecution of violent criminal acts committed against persons who belong to certain protected classes.  Those protected classes are based on personal characteristics including “actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation or gender identity, or disability.”

CCV’s president, Phil Burress, joined Focus on the Family’s founder Dr. James Dobson and other national pro-family leaders in applauding the Administration’s statement.

“Like the President,” said Burress, “we encourage vigorous investigation, intense prosecution, and stiff penalties for all violent crimes.  But to state that violent crimes committed against persons who belong to a certain class of citizens deserve a higher intensity of prosecution or stiffer penalties than the same crimes committed against other citizens, clearly is a violation of the 14th Amendment, which guarantees equal protection under the law.”

“Equal protection is one of the most basic principles of American jurisprudence,” added Burress, “and the proposed legislation clearly violates that principle.”

Burress also is concerned about where so-called hate crimes legislation would lead, and maintains that such legislation is better tagged “thought crimes legislation.”

“Wherever laws such as H.R.1592 have been enacted in the past, they almost invariably have led to criminalization of thought, independent of any violent acts,” Burress explains.

He believes that “actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity” were added to the bill for that very purpose, and points to British Columbia, Sweden, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where very similar laws have been used to penalize Christians for expressing Biblical views regarding homosexual acts.