Senate Unanimous on Vote to Make Lynching a Federal Crime

Senator Cory Booker

WASHINGTON (CN) – Changing the books to make lynching a federal crime, the Senate unanimously passed a measure Wednesday that has failed more than 200 times before.

Sponsored by three black lawmakers, the bill passed by voice vote, meaning no senator objected, when it came up on the Senate floor Wednesday night.

“Today, we have righted that wrong and taken corrective action that recognizes this stain on our country’s history,” said co-sponsor Senator Cory Booker, D-N.J., in a statement. “This bill will not undo the damage, the terror, and the violence that has been already done, nor will it bring back the lives that have been brutally taken. It will not reverse the irrevocable harm that lynching as a tool of oppression and suppression has caused. But it will acknowledge the wrongs in our history. It will honor the memories of those so brutally killed. And it will leave a legacy that future generations can look back on – that on this day, in this time, we did the right thing.” 

The bill makes lynching a crime under existing federal civil rights laws and now must go to the House of Representatives, where a companion bill has already been introduced. It remains to be seen whether the House will take up the bill before leaving Washington for the final time this Congress ahead of Christmas.

Senators Kamala Karris, D-Calif., and Tim Scott, R-S.C., co-sponsored the legislation.

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