The Return of the Thought Police

The Return of the Thought Police: "Hate crime" legislation is an assault on civil liberties


Is it necessary or fair to expand federal criminal jurisdiction to allow for dual federal and state prosecutions of alleged hate crimes? Arguably--if strong empirical evidence demonstrates that states are generally unwilling or unable to prosecute these crimes. Otherwise federal hate-crime legislation addresses an illusory threat to civil rights, while it exacerbates an actual crisis for civil liberty.

The continuing expansion of federal criminal jurisdiction has given federal law enforcement officials unprecedented power over each of us. As Gene Healy of the Cato Institute has observed, the federal criminal code is so vast and comprehensive that it enables prosecutors to "pick targets they think they should get rather than offenses that need to be prosecuted." Mr. Healy estimates that about 4,000 crimes are "scattered throughout the tens of thousands of pages of the United States code," stressing that the exact increase in federal crimes has been difficult to track. One frequently cited 1999 study by the American Bar Association noted that 40% of all federal criminal laws enacted after the Civil War dated back only to 1970.

Comment: Consider early CFG comments on "hate crime" legislation: Should 'Hate Crimes' bill be vetoed? and Don't muzzel free speech

No comments:

Post a Comment

Any anonymous comments with links will be rejected. Please do not comment off-topic