Joe Biden’s administration endorsed a bipartisan bill that makes executing suspects without a trial a more serious offense on March 29.
President Biden signed House Resolution 55 into law, officially making lynching a federal hate crime.
Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.) cosponsored the bill, also known as the Emmett Till Antilynching Act. It is the nation’s first federal law to “expressly” prohibit lynching.
“Hundreds of similar bills have failed to pass [and,] over the years, several federal hate crime laws were enacted, including one I signed last year to combat COVID-19 hate crimes,” Biden said. “No federal law expressly prohibited lynching, none—until today.”
The last time the House passed the bill in 2020, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) refused to let it pass through unanimous consent in the Senate. Chamber rules state any senator can try to pass a bill, and any other senator can object. The bill eventually passed the Senate after every senator signed for the legislation to proceed in March 2022.
Biden hopes the new law will encourage more Americans to resolve personal differences through the judiciary system.
“The law is not just about the past, it is about the present and our future as well,” he said.
“From the bullets in the back of Ahmaud Arbery to countless other acts of violence … the same racial hatred that drove the mob to hang a noose brought that mob carrying torches out of the fields of Charlottesville just a few years go,” he added.
I just signed the Emmett Till Antilynching Act into law — making lynching a federal hate crime for the first time in American history.— President Biden (@POTUS) March 29, 2022