What: All Issues : Human Rights & Civil Liberties : Gay Rights : S 1390. (Fiscal 2010 Defense authorization) Hatch of Utah amendment that would prevent portions of another amendment that would strengthen hate crimes laws from taking effect/On agreeing to the amendment
 Who: All Members
[POW!]
 

To find out how your Members of Congress voted on this bill, use the form on the right.

S 1390. (Fiscal 2010 Defense authorization) Hatch of Utah amendment that would prevent portions of another amendment that would strengthen hate crimes laws from taking effect/On agreeing to the amendment
senate Roll Call 231     Jul 16, 2009
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Progressive

This vote was on an amendment by Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, offered to another amendment by Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.  Hatch’s amendment would prevent portions of Leahy’s amendment from taking effect that relate to strengthening hate crimes laws.  Leahy’s amendment would add the text of a sweeping hate crimes bill, including mandating a study comparing hate crimes sentencing across states, allocating $5 million for states attorneys general to prosecute and investigate hate crimes, and expand federal hate crimes law to cover those based on sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.  The amendments were offered to the bill that authorizes Defense Department programs in fiscal 2010.

Hatch said he does not want to see crimes motivated by hatred go unpunished, but rather he does not believe it is necessary to expand the powers of the federal government on this score, because statistics have shown that states already have adequate power to handle the issue themselves.

“Contrary to what some of my colleagues may believe, Congress does not have the power to act in any manner that it chooses. There are a number of constitutional issues raised by this legislation, including the extent of Congress’s power under the commerce clause and prohibitions that could chill free speech in certain sectors of this country. Most apparently, this legislation would impede on grounds that are traditionally left to the States,” Hatch said.  “No one in this Chamber wants to see bias-motivated crimes go unpunished. That is not the question we are facing today. The question is whether, given the current state of affairs in most States and the limitations on Congress’s power, this measure is appropriate.”

Leahy said Hatch’s amendment would do nothing less than kill the hate crimes legislation. 

“The matter is very simple.  The Hatch amendment kills the hate crimes legislation.  If you want to kill the hate crimes legislation, vote for the Hatch amendment,” Leahy said.

By a vote of 29-62, the amendment was rejected.  All but four Republicans present voted for the amendment.  Every Democrat present voted against the amendment.  The end result is that Hatch’s amendment was defeated, and Leahy’s amendment retained its language strengthening hate crimes laws.

Issue Areas:

Find your Member of
Congress' votes

Select by Name