Even as the Supreme Court considers whether Congress exceeded its power under the Commerce Clause when it passed the Affordable Care Act, the Obama Justice Department, in a case in Ohio, is exceeding the bounds of that clause itself in its prosecution of several Amish for a purported federal “hate crime”: forcibly shaving the beards and cutting the hair of other Amish as a means of enforcing religious discipline. Today the federal district court hearing that case, United States v. Mullet, allowed CIR to file an amicus brief pointing out DOJ’s overreaching.
Never mind that the alleged actions already appear to violate state law against assault and battery. They violate the Hate Crimes Act, too, the Obama DOJ charged, because the alleged perpetrators hired drivers (whether drivers of cars or buggies the government doesn’t say) to take them from one part of Ohio to another to engage in their religiously-motivated acts, and also used a pair of scissors that had once travelled in interstate commerce. CIR argues that by claiming such things as these, the government failed to allege enough of a connection between the alleged crimes and interstate commerce for the indictment to charge an offense under relevant federal law (which of course includes the Constitution).
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