Waymon Hudson

Senator Sessions Looking to Add "Poison Pill" Amendments to Hate Crimes Legislation

Filed By Waymon Hudson | July 20, 2009 1:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Politics, The Movement
Tags: F-22 fighter jets, hate crimes legislation, Jeff Sessions, Matthew Shepard Act, Sotomayor

Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) is hoping to add three different amendments to the Matthew Shepard Act in an attempt to kill support for the expansion of hate crimes laws to protect the LGBT community.

Jeff-Sessions_7.jpgYou may know Senator Sessions as the race-baiting, bigoted failed Judicial nominee who now, in a show of the Republican sense of irony, is the top GOP leader in the Senate Judiciary Committee. During the Sotomayor hearings, he repeatedly made ridiculous, racially-charged comments (not to mention to the rather hilarious "quote of the hearing" line- saying he "wanted to do that crack cocaine thing" with the nominee).

Well now Sesssions is trying to add poison pills to the Matthew Shepard Act to ensure it goes down in flames. According to HRC Backstory:

The first Sessions Amendment would allow the death penalty to be applied in hate crimes cases under some circumstances. This Amendment is unnecessary and is a poison pill designed to kill the bill. The Amendment is being offered by and supported by Senators who oppose the Matthew Shepard Act. It's ironic that the very Senators who have falsely argued that this bill would put clergy in jail because of their beliefs think that those same clergy should be subject to the death penalty.

Much more after the jump...

The other amendments Sessions is looking to add:

The second Sessions Amendment would place an additional burden on the Justice Department to revise its long established guidelines for hate crimes cases. This Amendment is unnecessary. The Department already contains well-established, clear and precise guidelines to govern cases involving bias-motivated violence that work well.

Finally, the third Sessions Amendment would provide additional penalties for crimes involving servicemembers or their families. This Amendment is unnecessary. Existing statutes already provide special penalties on attacks against members of the Armed Services and veterans. In addition, the vague language of the Amendment is problematic. The Amendment provides for additional penalties for injuring the property of a serviceman or immediate family member. The scope of "family member" or what constitutes an "injury" to their property is unclear.

These are obvious Republican attempts to kill the legislation.

The Matthew Shepard Act is already on very shaky ground, having been attached to the Defense Appropriations Bill, which is being threatened with a Presidential veto over controversial funding for F-22 fighter planes.

It looks like Sessions is becoming one of the new "leading voices" in the GOP, spearheading their efforts when they need to attack minorities (something he is very very good at and has years of practice doing).

We have to make sure these poison pills don't get added on to cripple an already tenuous chance of the legislation passing.

(h/t Joe My God)

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Hmmm...the death penalty for ministers such as those who incite members of TheCall and Army of God.....I can live with that; in fact, many people may live if we do that...

I hope Sessions goes full bore on this. After all the media attention given his remarks on Sotamayor, the American public knows exactly who and what he is and so do his colleagues in the Senate. Let's see how many in the Senate are willing to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with a known racist and anti-LGBT bigot. My guess is not too many, even from the GOP side.

The more he spouts off his racist-homo-transphobic crap, the better for us and for the chances of the bill's passage.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | July 21, 2009 9:17 AM

But Rebecca, Jesse Helms has only been dead a year! Racist, bigot homophobes need a new champion. Robert (KKK "exalted cyclops")Byrd is getting older. There is still weeping over the death of Strom Thurmond. How much change can the electorate handle? :)

They are disgusting aren't they? And I have had to watch them longer than you have. And they live to great ages.

Thank heavens it passed. I have absolutely no problem with Republicans hereby sentencing to death people like The Call and the evangelicls who pour gasoline on the fire known as Army of God. Now no one can blame the Democrats when we strap The Peter or Matt Barber to the table....or Bishop Jackson, or O'Reilly

Here is what Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson said of a request to vote for Hate Crimes Legislation.
"Thank you for contacting me with your thoughts regarding "hate crimes" legislation. I appreciate your thoughts and the opportunity to respond to you.

Equality of individuals before the law has always been a bedrock principle of our nation. I oppose discrimination based on sex, race, age, religion, creed, disability, or national origin and will support any attempt to vigorously enforce anti-discrimination statutes. As I do not support discrimination under the law, I also do not believe in preference under the law. Therefore, I do not support "hate crime" provisions as I feel they value one person's life over another based on race, ethnicity, religion, or lifestyle. I believe rights are inherent in individuals, not groups. We should work to attain our nation's goal of equal opportunity without quotas or other forms of preferential treatment.

Thank you again for contacting me. If I can be of any assistance to you in the future, please do not hesitate to call upon me.

Johnny Isakson
United States Senator

For future correspondence with my office, please visit my web site at http://isakson.senate.gov/cont... You can also click here to sign up for the eNewsletter"

....if you feel like responding, please do.

I also live in Georgia and that is a standard form letter I have seen for years from these bigot Senators and the bigot Reps, like Tom Price. I hope the Democrats put a strong person against Johnny next year. We need to at least have one Senator with a brain.

Rev. Donna Lee | July 21, 2009 10:45 AM

We need to change how our natl legislatures work. Let's just do this right and have a up or down votes on legislation instead of all this manuevering that just circumvents the intent of legislation.

It looks like these aren't going to kill the bill, since senators did end up voting for them. It'd be kinda hard to say "I voted against hate crimes legislation because of the death penalty!" after having voted for it.

The question is what Obama will do with it after it makes it through conference.