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Unformatted text preview: itchell. In Mitchell, the Supreme Court upheld a Wisconsin "hate-crime" statute providing enhanced criminal penalties when a defendant intentionally selects a victim based on race. Defendant argued that the statute violated his First Amendment rights because, although it punished otherwise criminal conduct, it provided a greater penalty for bias-motivated conduct than for other similar conduct. The Court found that "motive plays the same role under the Wisconsin statute as it does under the federal and state antidiscrimination laws" that the court had previously upheld as constitutional. Additionally, and relevant to the Huffman & Wright discussion, the Court stated that although the statute singles out bias-motivated conduct, such treatment was sufficiently justified by an interest unrelated to the biases themselves. Citing evidence that bias-motivated conduct "is thought to inflict greater societal and individual harm" than comparable conduct which is not so motivated, the court found the state's interest in preventing these additional harms was adequate to support the enhancement provision. Thus, enhanced penalties which look to motive or beliefs are consistent with the First Amendment where conduct which arguably expresses those beliefs causes distinct or special harm. IN AMERICA, THERE ARE OTHER WAYS TO PROTEST LAWS WITHIN THE LEGAL FRAMEWORK Morris I. Leibman, lawyer and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom "Civil Disobedience, A Threat to Our Society Under Law", in a speech to the American Bar Association, Dec. 1964 The concept of righteous civil disobedience, I think, is incompatible with the concept of the American legal system. This is particularly axiomatic where this society provides more than any other for orderly change; where every minority-including the minority of one-has been protected by a system of law which provides for orderly process for development and change. I cannot accept the right to disobey where, as he...
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This document was uploaded on 11/20/2013.
- Fall '13