Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) has invited the parents of killed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin to the Hill to testify about Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law. As Roll Call reports, “The forum, which will also include other members of the Congressional Black Caucus, as well as other minority Members of Congress, will look into not only Martin’s death but also racial profiling and federal hate crime laws.”
As noted elsewhere, the question shouldn’t be “stand your ground” laws themselves – it should be whether the police decided to selectively ignore violation of those laws in Martin’s case. But there’s a broader question to be asked. If Trayvon Martin’s parents are to be trotted out as talking points in a discussion of racial profiling and hate crime laws, why shouldn’t a more racially diverse sample of Congress question them? In a case supposedly based on basic notions of racial discrimination, is it truly appropriate to separate Congress by race in order to examine these issues?
In essence, this is typical liberal legislation-making: base law on individual tragedies. This is also the worst way to make law as a general matter. One of the first principles taught in law school is that “hard cases make bad law” – more simply, that you cannot base broad societal rules on individual difficult situations. Unfortunately, that is what Democrats seem to be doing. And they seem to be dividing Americans in the process.