The Love Attack
I've never been a big fan of hate crime laws. If the underlying action is already a crime, then this is essentially punishing people for what they think. Now, the U.S. Constitution doesn't explicitly protect free thought, but it does protect free speech. And in spite of the fact that some people seem to not link their thought to their speech, there does seem to be a pretty fundamental link. My assumption is that free thought is in fact protected by the fourth amendment's right to privacy, and the ninth and tenth amendments' reservation of rights not explicitly listed.
But if we must consider hate when prosecuting crimes and assigning punishments, then I think we need to consider other thoughts and emotions as well.
For example, what about a love crimes ordinance? If a crime is motivated by love, then perhaps we should cut the fine in half. I punched you in the face for your own good!
If the crime is motivated by confusion, perhaps we should apply a random punishment.
If the crime is motivated by boredom, we should wait longer before determining the punishment.
In fact, if we want to find out what is truly behind the crime, we need find out exactly what the criminals are thinking and every emotion they experience. Only then can we evaluate why they committed their particular crimes and make sure the punishment fits the thought crime.
Or perhaps we can do something that is clearly constitutional, and that is to use a physical punishment for the physical crime, and to think and say bad things about the bad thoughts.