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6 May, 2009 By Rev. Ted Pike

Yesterday Sen. Patrick Leahy quietly scheduled a Senate Judiciary hearing next Tuesday to consider “helping state and local law enforcement.” The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, S 909, now before the Senate Judiciary Committee, proposes “to provide federal assistance to states, local jurisdictions, and Indian tribes to prosecute hate crimes…”

Is Leahy underhandedly scheduling a hate bill hearing, to enable pro-hate bill Judiciary Democrats to ram their hate bill forward to passage? I think he is.

I called a Senate Judiciary spokeswoman who told me she is a member of Leahy’s staff. She said, “No. This is a hearing about assisting state and local law enforcement. If it were about the hate bill, I believe the Senator would have said so.”

“But,” I asked, “Could this hearing expand to consider the hate bill in its intention to provide federal assistance to state law enforcement?”

“Yes,” she said.

With veiled language, Sen. Leahy is likely fulfilling his promise to announce a hate bill hearing. He is confident most observers will think this hearing is about obscure issues of federal aid to states; no one will perceive the hearing’s true purpose.

Leahy is wrong. I hope that every defender of freedom will closely watch www.judiciary.senate.gov next Tuesday at 10 a.m. EDT. Observers on the West Coast should tune in at 7 a.m.

This is a “hearing” to which no witnesses will probably be called. No troublesome Republican debate or amendments may be allowed. Rep. Conyers hoped for this several weeks ago in the House Judiciary. As a result of powerful protest, he did allow Republicans (although without witnesses) to propose amendments to the mark-up session in the House&mdahs;something he tried to avoid.

I believe Leahy is trying to pull a similar fast one. He hopes to rush the hate bill through by a majority vote, catching Republican Judiciary members unprepared.

Don’t let that happen. Call Republican members of the Senate Judiciary NOW and encourage them to put up a strong fight in the probable hate bill hearing next Tuesday. (Their names are listed on our Action Page at www.truthtellers.org .) Call 1-877-851-6437 toll free or 1-202-225-3121 toll.

If indeed this is a hearing unrelated to the hate bill, the attention of an international audience will pressure Judiciary Democrats to keep it that way. But if it expands into a pro-hate bill referendum, thousands including the FOX News Network (now attacking the “pedophile-protecting hate bill”) will be instant to sound the alarm.

Leahy made a serious strategic error by scheduling a hate bill hearing yesterday before Wednesday’s FOX attack. As anger mounts nationwide at the hate bill, Senate Democrats should lie low and hope it subsides. By instead scheduling a hearing in a less than forthright way, Leahy only incites the fires of suspicion—suspicion that the hate bill, both in content and methods of passage, is duplicitous; it can’t withstand the usual rigors of passage or scrutiny imposed on other legislation.

There was a time in previous Congresses when under-the-table hate bill strategies worked. Not today. Today, the whole world is watching.

current Ted Pike photo
Ted, today - photo: John Pike, October 2019

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