WASHINGTON — The U.S. House on Monday passed a bill classifying lynching as a federal hate crime, and it passed with wide bipartisan support, 422-3.
The three no votes came from Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Kentucky, and Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-Georgia.
The Emmett Till Antilynching Act would make lynching punishable by up to 30 years in prison.
It was named for Emmett Till, who was 14 years old in 1955 when he was lynched in Mississippi after being accused of offending a white woman.
Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Illinois, introduced the bill.
“BREAKING: The House of Representatives just passed my Emmett Till #AntilynchingAct by a vote of 422-3! This bill will ensure that the full force of the federal government is ALWAYS brought to bear on individuals who commit the monstrous act of lynching. Now, on the Senate!” Rush tweeted.
While Roy, who is seeking reelection, didn’t comment on his vote, Massie explained his no vote in a series of tweets:
“Here are the reasons I voted NO on the Anti-lynching Act last Congress and why I voted NO tonight: (1) The Constitution specifies only a handful of federal crimes, and leaves the rest to individual states to prosecute.
“(2) This bill expands current federal “hate crime” laws. A crime is a crime, and all victims deserve equal justice. Adding enhanced penalties for “hate” tends to endanger other liberties such as freedom of speech.
“(3) Lynching a person is already illegal in every state. Passing this legislation falsely implies that lynching someone does not already constitute criminal activity.
“(4) The bill creates another federal crime of “conspiracy,” which I’m concerned could be enforced overbroadly on people who are not perpetrators of a crime.”