Last night, the Senate voted 63 to 28 to attach a new hate crimes bill to the defense appropriation. While the legislation sounds good in theory, its likeliest impact will be to federalize crimes that are properly state matters and permit double jeopardy against politically unpopular defendants. Democrats clearly lacked confidence that the thought crimes bill would pass on its own, thus the need to tuck it into the defense spending bill.
Five Republicans voted with the Democrats: Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Richard Lugar (Ind.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Olympia Snowe (Maine) and George Voinovich (Ohio). Of this group, the most conservative is Lugar. No Democrats voted against.