Although I belong to one of the protected groups often victimized in "hate crimes", I see no benefits to hate crime laws. But there are costs:
[S. 909 will] award grants to assist [state & local] agencies with the extraordinary expenses associated with the investigation and prosecution of hate crimes.It's difficult--and probably expensive--to figure out what people were thinking when they committed a crime. So I'm guessing that prosecution of nearly every hate crime case costs significantly more to prosecute than an equivalent "non-hate" case.
Here's video of Eric Holder dancing around legitimate questions about the bill. He seems unable to cite specific cases or statistics in support of the bill. Probably because there aren't any.
My prediction: any law based on S. 909 will cost plenty but do nothing to reduce the frequency of hate crimes.
UPDATE: A definition:
[S. 909] adopts the definition of "hate crime" as set forth in the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (i.e., a crime in which the defendant intentionally selects a victim . . . because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, disability, or sexual orientation of any person).