President Bush Vows to Veto “Hate Crimes” Bill – – Or Does He?

The Office of Management and Budget within the White House released a statement of opposition to the “hate crimes” bill known as H.R. 1592 on the same day the proposal was approved by the House of Representatives (May 3rd). The announcement criticized the measure, describing it as “unnecessary and constitutionally questionable.”

Some have interpreted the statement as a promise to veto the bill coming from the President himself. However, that assessment may be premature, since neither the President nor any of his spokesmen have said what he will do if a “hate crimes” proposal reaches his desk.

The statement, which was released on the same day the “hate crimes” proposal passed the full House of Representatives, is printed on the letterhead of “The Office of Management and Budget” (OMB), and it merely expresses the sentiments of White House staff. It states the intention of the President’s senior advisors to urge him to veto H.R. 1592 if it receives final passage in the U.S. Senate. The actual wording of the document’s key statement reads as follows:

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

While a clear statement of opposition to H.R. 1592 from the President’s senior advisors may be a welcome source of comfort to the bill’s opponents, it does not constitute a committment to veto the bill from the President himself. Therefore, grassroots conservatives should take advantage of every opportunity to lobby their senators and the President to ensure this dangerous legislation is defeated.

The following is a complete copy of the statement regarding H.R. 1592 released by The White House Office of Management and Budget:

May 3, 2007


H.R. 1592 – Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007
(Rep. Conyers (D) Michigan and 171 cosponsors)

The Administration favors strong criminal penalties for violent crime, including crime based on personal characteristics, such as race, color, religion, or national origin. However, the Administration believes that H.R. 1592 is unnecessary and constitutionally questionable. If H.R. 1592 were presented to the President, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.

State and local criminal laws already provide criminal penalties for the violence addressed by the new Federal crime defined in section 7 of H.R. 1592, and many of these laws carry stricter penalties (including mandatory minimums and the death penalty) than the proposed language in H.R. 1592. State and local law enforcement agencies and courts have the capability to enforce those penalties and are doing so effectively. There has been no persuasive demonstration of any need to federalize such a potentially large range of violent crime enforcement, and doing so is inconsistent with the proper allocation of criminal enforcement responsibilities between the different levels of government. In addition, almost every State in the country can actively prosecute hate crimes under the State’s own hate crimes law.

H.R. 1592 prohibits willfully causing or attempting to cause bodily injury to any person based upon the victim’s race, color, religion, or national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. The Administration notes that the bill would leave other classes (such as the elderly, members of the military, police officers, and victims of prior crimes) without similar special status. The Administration believes that all violent crimes are unacceptable, regardless of the victims, and should be punished firmly.

Moreover, the bill’s proposed section 249(a)(1) of title 18 of the U.S. Code raises constitutional concerns. Federalization of criminal law concerning the violence prohibited by the bill would be constitutional only if done in the implementation of a power granted to the Federal government, such as the power to protect Federal personnel, to regulate interstate commerce, or to enforce equal protection of the laws. Section 249(a)(1) is not by its terms limited to the exercise of such a power, and it is not at all clear that sufficient factual or legal grounds exist to uphold this provision of H.R. 1592.

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Conservative groups may have made a strategic error in predicting a Bush veto, since pro-family citizens will believe the battle is won and stop lobbying their representatives. Meanwhile, pro-homosexual groups will continue to fight. This could, then, have the potential to create a lopsided, pro-hate crimes lobbying effort.

Consider these quotes:

The L.A. Times reports: “Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights group, said he hoped President Bush would sign the bill. ‘We are not going to stop working on this president,’ he said. ‘There’s time before this goes to the president’s desk. I hope that we have an opportunity to engage the White House”¦to talk to him about the kind of legacy he wants to look back upon.’”

Pro-homosexual news source “Between the Lines” reports: “(Openly homosexual) Rep. Tammy Baldwin…said she takes some comfort in the fact that President Bush has not made any direct threats to veto the bill, as he did on the recent funding bill for the war in Iraq and the embryonic stem cell research bill. …Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign…said he is hopeful President Bush will agree to meet with HRC Board member Judy Shepard — mother of hate crimes victim Matthew Shepard — and others before deciding what action to take.”

CLICK HERE to tell your Senators and the President to OPPOSE
“Hate Crimes” protection on the basis of “sexual orientation.”