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NCJ Number: 149937 Find in a Library
Title: Bashers Beware: The Continuing Constitutionality of Hate Crimes Statutes After R.A.V.
Journal: Oregon Law Review  Volume:72  Issue:1  Dated:(Spring 1993)  Pages:157-203
Author(s): J D Selbin
Date Published: 1993
Page Count: 47
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This analysis of the constitutionality of hate crimes statutes in view of R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul concludes that these laws, which proscribe hate violence as violent conduct rather than as expressive conduct or speech, neither implicate nor violate the First Amendment.
Abstract: In the R.A.V. decision, the United States Supreme Court struck down the hate speech ordinance of St. Paul, Minn. Since then, the State supreme courts of Wisconsin and Ohio have invalidated State hate crimes laws, relying, in part, on an expansion of the Supreme Court's reasoning in R.A.V. However, hate crime statutes fit within a tradition that began soon after the Civil War. The constitutional attacks on such laws have blurred the distinction between content- based laws prohibiting hate speech, which are clearly invalid under current First Amendment jurisprudence, and hate crimes statutes, which prohibit conduct and are thus constitutionally valid. However, hate crimes laws generally regulate conduct that neither aim at nor hit speech or expressive conduct. If the Supreme Court embraces the apparent trend toward overturning hate crimes laws, State and the Federal Government will lose a powerful and necessary tool for combating and controlling hate violence. These laws do not endanger freedoms; they may prove invaluable to the preservation of those same freedoms by guaranteeing the stability and perhaps the survival of our multicultural community. Footnotes
Main Term(s): Victims of violent crime
Index Term(s): Bias related violence; Freedom of speech; Hate Crimes; US Supreme Court decisions
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