Hate Crimes

January 8, 1993 • Volume 3, Issue 1
Are longer sentences for hate crimes constitutional?
By Kenneth Jost


Crimes committed against individuals because of their race, religion, ethnic origin or sexual orientation appear to be increasing in the United States. Whether the offenses are homophobic slurs, anti- Semitic vandalism or racially motivated assaults, experts say that bias-motivated crimes have an especially devastating effect on society at large, as well as on individual victims. To combat hate crimes, more than half the states have adopted laws providing longer sentences for certain offenses when they are motivated by specified types of prejudice. But some civil liberties advocates say the laws threaten freedom of speech. Two state supreme courts threw out such laws last summer. Now the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to review one of those decisions, setting up a major legal test between civil rights and civil liberties.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Racism and Hate
Aug. 13, 2021  Hate Crimes
Feb. 12, 2021  Slavery's Legacy
May 12, 2017  Anti-Semitism
Mar. 17, 2017  ‘Alt-Right’ Movement
Sep. 18, 2015  Far-Right Extremism
Nov. 22, 2013  Racial Profiling
May 08, 2009  Hate Groups
Jun. 01, 2007  Shock Jocks Updated
Jan. 07, 1994  Racial Tensions in Schools
Jan. 08, 1993  Hate Crimes
May 12, 1989  The Growing Danger of Hate Groups
Nov. 05, 1969  American History: Reappraisal and Revision
Mar. 31, 1965  Extremist Movements in Race and Politics
May 13, 1964  Racism in America
Dec. 03, 1958  Spread of Terrorism and Hatemongering
Jul. 10, 1946  Ku Klux Klan
Jan. 09, 1945  Race Equality
Dec. 19, 1933  Lynching and Kidnapping
Domestic Issues
Freedom of Speech and Press
Hate Groups
Race and Hate Crimes