Pick Your Prejudice


The Georgia Supreme Court has unanimously overturned the state's "hate crime" law, which imposed longer sentences on criminals who "intentionally selected any victim or any property of the victim as the object of the offense because of bias or prejudice." Because state legislators disagreed about whether to mention sexual orientation, the law did not specify what sorts of bias or prejudice triggered extra punishment. The state Supreme Court therefore concluded that the law was unconstitutionally vague. Since it covered "every possible partiality or preference," the court said, the statute could be applied to "a campaign worker convicted of trespassing for defacing a political opponent's yard signs" or "a rabid sports fan convicted of uttering terroristic threats to a victim selected for wearing a competing team's baseball cap."