The Obama’s Administration’s Strange Double Standards on Hate Crimes, Terrorism, and Health Care: Soft on the Guilty, Cruel to the Innocent, Unfair to Taxpayers
When black panthers were caught on videotape menacing white voters in Philadelphia, using nightsticks and racial epithets to drive them away from the polls, Obama political appointees, including Assistant Attorney General Tom Perelli, intervened to dismiss the lawsuit that had been won against them by career Justice Department lawyers — dismissing the case after it had already been won! The Obama political appointees insisted that the Justice Department should throw out its victory by not permitting a default judgment against two of the defendants even after the court clerk had already entered a default, claiming lack of evidence — even though the evidence of voter intimidation was captured on videotape! (The Obama appointees did allow the court to enter a toothless injunction against the third of the three defendants, which did nothing more than instruct him not to engage in such criminal acts again. But the defendants have paid no penalty for their crimes).
While bending over backwards to protect black hate-criminals who menaced voters in violation of the Voting Rights Act, the Administration has insisted that others found innocent of hate crimes in state court should be prosecuted all over again in federal court, relying on a loophole in Constitutional protections against double jeopardy. The recently passed federal hate-crimes bill, which Obama has pledged to sign, broadens the federal hate crimes law to the point where it punishes the same conduct already prohibited by state criminal laws and hate-crimes laws, allowing federal prosecutors to bring charges all over again after a jury has found that the defendant is not guilty of hate crimes.
As law professor Gail Heriot, a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, notes in the Philadelphia Inquirer, advocates of the federal hate crimes law have insisted that even in state cases where the evidence of a hate crime was very weak, leading to acquittals, federal reprosecution is warranted. For example, “Some have even called for federal prosecution of the Duke University lacrosse team members–despite strong evidence of their innocence.” Amazingly, even though DNA evidence proved the Duke Lacrosse players did not commit any rape (much less the racially-motivated rape they were accused of), and the North Carolina attorney general has admitted that they were innocent, there are still those who wish they had been prosecuted in federal court.
The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights voted 6-to-2 to oppose the federal hate-crimes bill. The Commission called the bill a “menace to civil liberties” because “its most important effect will be to allow federal authorities to re-prosecute a broad category of defendants who have already been acquitted by state juries.” Thus, it will erode protections against double jeopardy.
But Congress chose to heed instead the 2 dissenting Commissioners, such as Michael Yaki, who has argued that the bill was necessary to allow people found not guilty of a hate crime in state court to be reprosecuted all over again in federal court. In his July 6 San Francisco Chronicle website commentary “Why We Need the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Bill,” Yaki points to the example of Joseph Silva and George Silva, who were found guilty of a crime in California state court, but not guilty of committing it for racial reasons, as an example of people who need to be reprosecuted for hate crimes in federal court. In fact, the Silvas are already being reprosecuted by the Obama Justice Department in federal court under the existing, narrow federal hate-crimes law, which only reaches the minority of hate crimes that affect federally-protected activities. The new hate-crimes law eliminates the longstanding requirement that hate crimes affect federally protected activities before federal prosecutors have jurisdiction to reprosecute them, making most state hate-crimes federal hate-crimes as well. (The Obama Justice Department “strenuously resisted efforts to tighten the bill’s language” to eliminate unjustified prosecutions).
A desire to get around constitutional double-jeopardy protections was also voiced by many backers of the bill, like the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and MALDEF, which pointed to a state jury’s acquittal of Pennsylvania teenagers accused of a hate crime against an illegal alien as a reason for passing the federal hate-crimes bill.
While seeking to erode the constitutional rights of American citizens, the Obama Administration has given foreign terrorists rights that they are not entitled to under the Constitution, such as giving enemy combatants captured in Afghanistan Miranda warnings even though that is not legally required. Terrorists captured overseas by U.S. troops are not entitled by the U.S. Constitution to Miranda warnings. Nor are Miranda warnings required by Afghan law, international law, or treaties like the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Even the liberal Washington Post, which has not endorsed a Republican for President since 1952, has criticized Obama’s foreign policy, admitting that Obama has shown “willful disregard of political oppression” by left-wing dictators. Meanwhile, he has attacked friendly governments in places like Honduras, the Wall Street Journal notes. All too often, Obama has behaved like a friend to our enemies, and an enemy to our friends.
Many supporters of the federal hate-crimes bill want to allow those found innocent to be reprosecuted in federal court. As one supporter put it, “the federal hate crimes bill serves as a vital safety valve in case a state hate-crimes prosecution fails.” The claim that the justice system has “failed” when a jury returns a not-guilty verdict is truly scary and contrary to the constitutional presumption of innocence and the right to trial by jury.
But it is a view widely shared among supporters of the hate-crimes bill. Syndicated columnist Jacob Sullum pointed out in 1998 that Janet Reno, Clinton’s Attorney General, backed the bill as a way of providing a federal “forum” for prosecution if prosecutors fail to obtain a conviction “in the state court.”
Supporters of the hate crimes bill also see it as a way to prosecute people even in cases where the evidence is so weak that state prosecutors have decided not to prosecute. Attorney General Eric Holder has pushed for the hate crimes bill as a way to prosecute people whom state prosecutors refuse to prosecute because of a lack of evidence. To justify broadening federal hate-crimes law, he cited three examples where state prosecutors refused to prosecute, citing a lack of evidence. In each, a federal jury acquitted the accused, finding them not guilty.
Advocates of a broader federal hate-crimes law have pointed to the Duke lacrosse case as an example of where federal prosecutors should have stepped in and prosecuted the accused players — even though the state prosecution in that case was dropped because the defendants were actually innocent, as North Carolina’s attorney general conceded, and were falsely accused of rape by a woman with a history of violence (including trying to run over someone with her car) and making false accusations.
Given the politically-charged nature of many hate-crimes trials, Kimberly Potter of New York University was probably right when she told Congress back in 1998 that if the federal hate crimes bill is enacted, “the acquittal of defendants in state court will frequently trigger demands for federal prosecution.”
Obama is also guilty of double standards in health-care. He’s trying to push through an ill-conceived health-care overhaul at home which will give preferential treatment to illegal aliens by qualifying them for federal health-care coverage, while exempting them from proposed taxes that would apply only to citizens.
One of Obama’s own advisers says his health-care plan will harm people with insurance while raising their taxes. CNN says Obamacare will take away 5 freedoms. It will also destroy many affordable health-care plans while breaking Obama’s campaign promises.