COLUMNIST Elmer Smith rails against the hate-crimes bill signed into law by President Obama.
Current law authorizes federal involvement in hate-crime cases only when the victim is targeted because of race, color, religion or national origin. The new legislation lets the Justice Department intervene when the crime is based on the victim's actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or disability.
The law also lets federal prosecutors assist local authorities in states that have no hate-crimes law, or states where the law is limited. Federal authorities will also be able to investigate and prosecute hate crimes when local authorities are unwilling or unable to achieve a just result. Federal support to local officials will also be available through training or direct assistance.