ADL Hails House Approval Of Federal Hate Crimes Legislation
New York, NY, May 3, 2007 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today hailed the approval of long delayed legislation to update and expand federal hate crimes laws by the U.S. House of Representatives. The measure, H.R. 1592, the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007, was approved by a vote of 237-180.
ADL expressed disappointment, however, that senior advisors in the Administration have recommended that the President veto the legislation should it come to his desk for signature.
Glen S. Lewy, ADL National Chair, and Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:
We welcome the House vote as the next step in the long campaign to enact this essential legislation. This important action continues the history of bipartisan, majority support for enactment of a federal hate crimes law.
The Administration has wrongly called this legislation "unnecessary and constitutionally questionable." In fact, this measure, for the first time, permits the Justice Department to assist local hate crime prosecutions and, where appropriate, to investigate and prosecute cases in which bias violence occurs because of the victim's race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability. Furthermore, since similar federal hate crime laws have never been successfully challenged – and the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of hate crimes laws in 1993 – we are confident that this law will pass constitutional muster.
We have been privileged to help lead an extraordinarily broad coalition of civil rights, education, law enforcement, civic, and religious communities working in support of this legislation, which will promote federal and state partnership efforts to combat hate violence. We urge the Senate to promptly follow the House in approving this bill.
Forty-five states and the District of Columbia have passed hate crime statutes, many based on model legislation drafted by ADL. The League has been a pioneer in drafting and promoting tough and effective hate crimes laws across the country.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.