After 200 Attempts, US Has a Federal Anti-Lynching Law

'Lynching was pure terror,' President Biden says
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 1, 2022 2:47 PM CST
Updated Mar 29, 2022 8:09 PM CDT
Only 3 Lawmakers Voted Against Lynching Bill
Vice President Kamala Harris hugs Sen. Cory Booker after President Biden signed the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act in the Rose Garden of the White House, Tuesday, March 29, 2022.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

(Newser) Update: After almost 200 attempts over 120 years, the US has passed a law making lynching a federal hate crime. President Biden signed the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act at a White House event with guests including Rev. Wheeler Parker, a cousin of Till's who witnessed the teenager's kidnapping in 1955, the AP reports. "Thank you for never giving up," Biden said. “Lynching was pure terror, to enforce the lie that not everyone, not everyone belongs in America, not everyone is created equal." The bill passed the Senate unanimously earlier this month following a 422-3 vote in the House, reports the BBC. Our original story from March 1 follows:

That the House passed legislation Monday to classify lynching as a federal hate crime punishable by up to 30 years in prison was no surprise—it cleared by a vote of 422-3. But the lopsided result has focused attention on the three lawmakers who voted in the minority: GOP Reps. Andrew Clyde of Georgia, Thomas Massie of Kentucky, and Chip Roy of Texas, per the Hill.

  • Massie: In a Twitter thread, Massie said that lynching is already illegal in all states and worried that "adding enhanced penalties for 'hate' tends to endanger other liberties such as freedom of speech."

  • Roy: In a statement, Roy called lynching "an unspeakably heinous crime," per Rolling Stone. But, he added, "this bill doesn’t have anything to do with lynching." He called it "an effort to advance a woke agenda under the guise of correcting racial injustice" and said it would be better left to states.
  • Clyde: He had not issued a statement or spoken about his vote as of Tuesday afternoon, per Insider. (Clyde's profile rose during the pandemic because he kept racking up fines for not wearing a mask in the House chamber.)
  • Up next: The bill moves to the Senate, where it is expected to pass, reports the New York Times. Republican Rand Paul blocked it the last time it reached the Senate floor in 2020, complaining that the legislation was too broad. However, Paul has signaled that he's on board this time.
(Read more lynching stories.)

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