Warehouse Bank
Thought Crimes and Hate Crimes

Bush to Veto Hate Crime Legislation

We cannot know a man's heart, but we can see his actions.  President George W. Bush has vetoed two bills since being President.  The first dealt with stem-cell research; the second with the Iraq withdrawal.  Bush, as President, has never vetoed any criminal legislation.  There is nothing to indicate that he has any compassion for criminal defendants.  Indeed, while not pardoning people (forget forgiveness), he has also sought to deny certain categories of people the right to counsel.

Yet Bush now intends to veto legislation that would have protected gays from hate crimes.  Bush claims he is opposing the law on federalism principles.  Does anyone really believe this? 

Here's what I wrote when Bush claimed that, due to overriding federalism concerns, he delayed acting when Katrina hit:

The current Administration has zero respect for federalism.  Last year the Bush Administration fought California's attempt to legalize medical marijuana.  In Gonzales v. Raich, California continued to prosecute recreational drug years while allowing sick patients to use marijuana under their physician's supervision.  The federal government argued that California's law was preempted by federal law, since drugs not bought or sold were "commerce," and therefore subject to federal regulation.

This year, the Bush Administration is defending the efforts of its Attorney General to preempt Oregon's physician-assisted suicide law.  The government argues in Gonzales v. Oregon that it has the power to regulate the practice of medicine in Oregon.  How so?  The federal government contends that it's illegal for doctors, state law notwithstanding, to give patients medication to help them die.

The federal government is willing to strain federal law so that medical marijuana, never bought-or-sold or bartered-for, is commerce.  They're willing to read into federal law the power to federalize medical practice.  Why should we believe that an Administration so willing to imposes its will on the states lacked the power to do so here?  Answer: don't believe it.

Indeed, don't believe it.  Bush is to federalism what Scalia is to originalism.

(My own view of the law was that it would have been upheld as constitutional, though Scalia the hypocrite would have undoubtedly dissented - which simply indicates how wrong the Supreme Court's Commerce Clause jurisprudence is; and how unprincipled Scalia is.)