Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Oklahoma: Home of wingbats

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From the Center for American Progress in an email:

Oklahoma state Sen. Steve Russell (R) is proposing legislation that invokes the 10th Amendment of the Constitution to exempt his state from the recently passed Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act (HCPA), claiming it infringes on freedom of speech. Hate crimes laws have been on the books since 1969, but Russell seems to object only to this law, which expands the definition of such crimes to "those committed because of a victim’s sexual orientation." Russell and other right wingers claim that anti-gay religious leaders could be "imprisoned for their speech" under the new law, or a "suspect could pass the blame onto a religious leader who preached out against" homosexuality. But as Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) noted, "Nothing in this legislation diminishes an American’s freedom of religion [or] freedom of speech," because the law "targets acts, not speech." Russell is echoing a common right-wing objection to health care reform — pushed by the so-called "tenthers" — which argues that because the U.S. Constitution never explicitly gives the federal government the right to regulate health care, the 10th Amendment leaves that power exclusively to the states. As Russell says, the HCPA "gives the federal government power that was not given to them in the Constitution." Russell and the other tenthers have flimsy legal basis for their claims. The Constitution gives Congress broad power to "provide for the common defense and general welfare," but as Center for American Progress Policy Analyst Ian Millhiser noted, tenthers "insist that these words don’t actually mean what they say." This fringe so out of touch with the mainstream that it believe landmark federal programs such as Medicare, Social Security, the federal highway system, and rules regulating airplane safety are unconstitutional.

Written by LeisureGuy

19 November 2009 at 10:32 am

Posted in Daily life, GOP, Government, Law

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