Justice for Victims of Lynching Act

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Justice for Victims of Lynching Act
Great Seal of the United States
Full titleA bill to amend title 18, United States Code, to specify lynching as a deprivation of civil rights, and for other purposes.
Introduced in115th United States Congress
Introduced onJune 28, 2018
Legislative history
  • Passed the Senate on December 19, 2018 (unanimous)
Kamala Harris presenting the Justice for Victims of Lynching Act in the Senate

Justice for Victims of Lynching Act of 2018 was a proposed bill to classify lynching (defined as bodily injury on the basis of perceived race, color, religion or nationality) a federal hate crime in the United States. The largely symbolic bill aimed to recognize and apologize for historical governmental failures to prevent lynching in the US.[1]

The act was introduced in the US Senate in June 2018 by the body's three Black members: Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and Tim Scott.[2] The legislation passed the Senate unanimously on December 19, 2018.[3][4] The bill died because it was not passed by the House before the 115th Congress ended on January 3, 2019.[5]

2020 bill[edit]

On February 26, 2020, the Emmett Till Antilynching Act,[6] a revised version of the Justice for Victims of Lynching Act, passed the House of Representatives, by a vote of 410–4.[7] Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky has held the bill from passage by unanimous consent in the Senate, out of concern that a convicted criminal could face "a new 10-year penalty for... minor bruising."[8] Paul requested expedited passage of an amended version of the bill which would require "an attempt to do bodily harm" for an act to be considered lynching, noting that lynching is already illegal under Federal Law.[9] House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer criticized Rand Paul's position, saying on Twitter that "it is shameful that one GOP Senator is standing in the way of seeing this bill become law." Senator Kamala Harris added that "Senator Paul is now trying to weaken a bill that was already passed — there's no reason for this" while speaking to have the amendment defeated.[10][11]


  1. ^ Lockhart, P. R. (2018-12-21). "Why the Senate's unanimous passage of an anti-lynching bill matters". Vox. Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  2. ^ Zaveri, Mihir (2018-12-20). "Senate Unanimously Passes Bill Making Lynching a Federal Crime". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  3. ^ Eli Watkins. "Senate passes bill making lynching a federal crime". CNN. Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  4. ^ "Legislation To Make Lynching A Federal Crime Clears Historic Hurdle In Congress". NPR.org. Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  5. ^ govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/s3178. Accessed May 4, 2019
  6. ^ "H.R.35 - Emmett Till Antilynching Act". Congress.gov. Library of Congress. Retrieved 5 June 2020.
  7. ^ "Emmett Till bill making lynching a federal crime passes House". ABC News. Retrieved 2020-02-27.
  8. ^ "Sen. Paul acknowledges holding up anti-lynching bill, says he fears it would be wrongly applied". washingtonpost.com.
  9. ^ "Senate Session". C-SPAN.
  10. ^ Barrett, Ted; Foran, Clare (June 3, 2020). "Rand Paul holds up anti-lynching legislation as he seeks changes to bill". CNN. Retrieved 7 June 2020.
  11. ^ Foran, Clare; Fox, Lauren (June 4, 2020). "Emotional debate erupts over anti-lynching legislation as Cory Booker and Kamala Harris speak out against Rand Paul amendment". CNN. Retrieved 5 June 2020.