CULTURAL REVOLUTIONSrnH A T E C R I M E S were back in thernnews this summer. Of course, everyrncrime is a hate crime when considered asrna sin against charit}’ and against the divinelyrnordained institution of humanrngovernment. To this extent all crimesrnare equal, yet the United States government,rnwhile upholding as always thernprinciple of equality, is attempting oncernagain to get around it in devious and dishonestrnways, for its owir unspecifiedrnends. Following the much-publicizedrnmurder in Jasper, Texas, of a black man,rnJames Byrd, Jr., whom three white menrnare accused of having dragged to deathrnbehind a pickup truck, the Senate JudiciaryrnCommittee decided to amplify thernbody of existing hate crimes legislation.rnCurrent federal law applies to crimesrn”motivated” by the offender’s dislike ofrnhis victim’s race, color, religion, or nationalrnorigin. The new measure’s sponsors.rnSenators Edward Kennedy, ArlenrnSpecter, and Ron Wyden, would amendrnit to add “gender,” sexual orientation,rnand disability to the attributes specificallyrndesignated by the U.S. government asrnworthy of special—meaning “federal” —rnprotection from “haters” (apparentlyrnlegion in this country). Although thernJasper incident was presumably relatedrnto racial hatred, not machismo, ableism,rnor normalism, the committee broughtrnthe late Mr. Byrd’s daughter, Francis ReneernMullins, all the way from Lufkin,rnTexas, to lobby for the measure. “I thinkrnthere should be federal jurisdiction overrncrimes so hateful,” Ms. Mullins teshfied.rn”[T]he laws of the land should punishrn[the perpetrators].”rnMeaning Texas law isn’t “the law ofrnthe land”? And punishment is somehowrnincomplete and unsatisfactory if metedrnout by a court deriving its authority fromrna lesser governmental entity than thernfederal one? Tearful testimony from arnbereaved legal simpleton aside, the proposedrnbill poses all sorts of legal problems,rnincluding double jeopardy, the duplicationrnof state laws by the impositionrnof a federal one, an increase in the alreadyrnoverwhelming burden carried byrnthe federal judiciary —as well as, ofrncourse, considerations related to federalistrnprinciple and the Constitution of thernUnited States. (Thirtj’-nine states andrnthe District of Columbia already havernlaws against hate crimes on the books,rnand 22 of them include sexual orientadonrnas a protected category.)rnThere are other reasons, however, tornquestion what is actually going on here.rnPresident Clinton endorsed last year’srnhate crimes legislation, and a luridrnrainbow of women’s, gay rights, black.rnLatino, and Asian-Pacific Americanrngroups demanded it. Organized females,rnqueers, and people of color workrnhard to make sure that the American majorityrnspends its time—all of it—thinkingrnabout them and their concerns, and thernPresident, who is working to build whatrnhe calls “a vocabulary that embracesrnAmerica’s future,” is eager that it should.rnLast }’ear, when three white ethnics beatrnup a black boy who had strayed into theirrnneighborhood, Clinton flew to Chicagornto offer moral support; more recently, hernvisited Atlanta to dramatize anotherrnwhite-on-black incident in that city. Hernhad nothing to say, however, regarding arnspectacular instance of black-on-whiterncrime in which a gang of black youth attackedrnthree young white teenagers whornhad jumped a freight train going thernwrong way and ended up in the slums ofrnFlint, Michigan, shoohng all three in thernhead and gang-raping the girl; or another,rnwhere two blacks in Saginaw abductedrna white girl, bound her with duct tape,rnplaced her on the backseat of her ownrncar, and drove around town all night offeringrnher to their friends before raping,rnsodomizing, and killing her, and leavingrnthe body on the railroad tracks. When itrncomes to hate crimes, some hate crimesrnare definitely more hateful than others.rnBut finally, it is simply none of therngovernmenf s business what Americansrnare thinking when the’ do anything —orrnnothing, for that matter. Hate crimesrnlegislation establishes hating as a separaterncrime from doing, when it is linkedrnto the act of doing. The logical nextrnstep —and people who propose laws ofrnthis sort are nothing if not “logical” —isrnto uncouple hating completely from doing,rnwhich would amount to the legalrnrecognition of thought crime. That isrnthe destination we are headed for withrnanti-hate laws. If v’e ever reach it, it willrnbe owing more to the law of unspokenrnconsequences than of unintended ones.rn— Chilton Williamson, Jr.rnTHE LINE ITEM VETO ACT hasrnbeen struck down by the SupremernCourt. As I predicted in the Februar’ issuernof Chronicles (“Reining in thernFeds”), the Court (in CUnton v. City ofrnNew York) declared that the act violatedrnthe Constitution’s Presentment Clause,rnwhich commands that a bill passing bothrnthe House and the Senate “shall, beforernit becomes a Lav’, be presented to thernPresident of the United States; If he approvernhe shall sign it, but if not he shallrnreturn it, with his Objections.” hi the sixto-rnthree decision written by Justice JohnrnPaul Stevens, the Court reasoned thatrnthe line item veto allows the President torncreate “a different law—one whose textrnwas not voted on by either House of Congressrnor presented to the President for signature.”rnThough acknowledging thatrnthe President does have a limited role inrnthe legi.slati’e process, the Court properlyrnconcluded that the Constitution doesrnnot permit him to enact, amend, or repealrnstatutes.rnIn arguing for the Line Item Veto Act,rnthe government asserted that the cancellationsrnwere exercises of discretionar)’ authorit)’rngranted to the President, and thatrnthe vetoes were merely executive decisionsrndeclining to spend appropriatedrnfunds, an act called “impoundment.”rnThe government based the first argumentrnon Field v. Clark, which dealt withrnthe Tariff Act of 1890. Section three ofrnthe Tariff Act directed the President tornsuspend tariff exemptions for certainrnproducts if he found that the countrv’ ofrnorigin placed “unequal and unreasonable”rnduties on American agriculturalrngoods. But the Supreme Court rejectedrnthis argument on three grounds. First,rnthe President’s suspension of tariff exemptionsrnwas contingent upon a conditionrnthat did not exist when the Tariff Actrnwas passed. The line item veto, on thernother hand, must be exercised within fi’erndays after the bill is signed into law, andrnthus the same circumstances exist asrnwhen Congress passed the statute. Second,rnunder the Tariff Act, the Presidentrnhad a duty to suspend the exemptionsrn6/CHRONICLESrnrnrn