Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. A Brief Observation on Anti-lynching Laws

 

Senator Tim Scott Even after Senator Tim Scott got Mitch McConnell to agree in advance to allow 20 Democrat amendments to his police reform bill, which included an anti-lynching portion, the Democrats killed the bill by filibuster. Now, if you have been paying a bit of attention to history, this might sound familiar. Yes, indeed, there is a long and ugly history, in the Progressive Era, of Democrat senators filibustering anti-lynching laws every time they came to the Senate floor, and of the Republican leaders not changing the rule to stop this facilitation of race-based political terrorism. Meet the new Senate, same as the old Senate.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, states and local governments controlled by white supremacist Democrats blocked blacks from serving on juries and reliability acquitted white men if officials even felt a need to hold a trial over the killing of a black man. The original intent of federal anti-lynching laws was to bypass white supremacist controlled state and local governments, stopping them from providing legal cover, from holding occasional trials of white killers of black men and always acquitting them. It was the norm in segregated states to pervert justice in this way. The point now is some sort of symbolism, as current federal civil rights law already provides ways to prosecute and no jurisdiction has anything like the poisonous conditions of Jim Crow.

Still, this legislation had been revived by Senator Tim Scott and supposed by Democratic Senators Harris and Booker in 2018. Now, they refuse to even allow debate on such a bill. Senator Scott calls them all on their real reason for not letting the bill be debated on the merits: naked electoral politics.

Senator Scott finally got angry at Democrats. In fact, he went past medieval to Old Testament on them. He says they will have blood on their hands. See the full treatment featured on C-SPAN’s YouTube channel, or the condensed burst of truth on ABC News, or his follow-on comments on Fox News.

Senator Scott is angry, but not yet to the point of demanding an end to the filibuster in the name of overcoming a stained Senate history. Never mind that the Democrats, if they gain the majority, will sweep away the filibuster the first time Senator Scott tries to use it on any serious legislation next year. He is angry with Washington, DC, and Senate games, just not yet the filibuster rule game, which enables the games he decried.

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  1. Susan Quinn Contributor

    The Dems don’t care about anyone dying. They aren’t concerned about citizens, law enforcement, justice, fairness–you name it. Their despicable refusal to work on this bill with Senator Scott is all about defeating Trump in November. Disgusting.

    • #1
    • June 26, 2020, at 6:25 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  2. Richard Fulmer Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    The Dems don’t care about anyone dying. They aren’t concerned about citizens, law enforcement, justice, fairness–you name it. Their despicable refusal to work on this bill with Senator Scott is all about defeating Trump in November. Disgusting.

    The issue clearly favors Democrats and they’re anxious to keep it alive – more anxious than they are about keeping Americans alive. 

    • #2
    • June 26, 2020, at 6:59 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  3. DonG (skeptic) Coolidge

    The best thing for Sen. Scott to do is to stay active. Keep putting up bills that are popular in swing states that Dems choose to stop. Elections are won this way and super-majorities are build that way. There are too many red-state Dem. Senators.

    • #3
    • June 26, 2020, at 7:16 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  4. Vance Richards Inactive
    Vance Richards Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    What’s the point of anti-lynching laws. Wouldn’t that already be illegal because it’s murder?

    • #4
    • June 26, 2020, at 7:54 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  5. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk and Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Vance Richards (View Comment):
    What’s the point of anti-lynching laws. Wouldn’t that already be illegal because it’s murder?

    < devil’s advocate mode = on >

    Criminalizing a thing isn’t the only purpose of legislation. For example, there can also be legislation to introduce measures to reduce the rate of a thing. It’s already illegal to commit any crime. Should legislatures refrain from passing bills designed to help reduce crime rates?

    < devil’s advocate mode = off >

    That being said, I wasn’t aware that the incidence rate for lynching was particularly high.

    • #5
    • June 26, 2020, at 8:46 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  6. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk and Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Here’s another example of legislation designed to recategorize something that was already illegal.

    Up here in the Great White North, there was never a law against car theft on the books. Instead, we had “Theft Under $5,000” and “Theft Over $5,000”, and clearly both those laws covered car theft.

    Here’s the problem: In many cases a family that can only afford a cheap car needs that car a lot more than a family that can afford an expensive car, so it’s much more damaging to that family if their car is stolen. 

    That’s why the previous Conservative government under Stephen Harper passed legislation making car theft a separate offense under the Criminal Code, with the cash value of the vehicle being irrelevant for sentencing purposes.

    Consider another example: Assault is illegal, but there’s also “assault with a deadly weapon”, “aggravated assault”, “assault causing bodily injury”, “assaulting a police officer”, “sexual assault”, “sexual assault with a weapon or threats or causing bodily harm”, “aggravated sexual assault”, etc. Why aren’t they all covered under the umbrella of assault?

    Murder is illegal, so why is it necessary for it to be divided into “first degree”, “second degree”, “manslaughter”, “infanticide”, “murder of a police officer”, etc.? Clearly, the principle that not all murder is equal is already entrenched into America’s legal tradition, so that’s clearly not a sufficient reason to refrain from making lynching a separate crime.

    • #6
    • June 26, 2020, at 9:13 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  7. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown

    Vance Richards (View Comment):

    What’s the point of anti-lynching laws. Wouldn’t that already be illegal because it’s murder?

    The original intent was to shortcut white supremacist controlled state and local governments from providing legal cover, from holding occasional trials of white killers of black men and always acquitting them. It was the norm in segregated states to pervert justice in this way. The point now is some sort of symbolism, as current federal civil rights law already provide a way to prosecute and no jurisdiction has anything like the poisonous conditions of Jim Crow.

    Thanks for the question. I edited the post to briefly explain the history and context.

    • #7
    • June 26, 2020, at 10:04 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  8. Bob Armstrong Thatcher

    Our Senator speaks the truth that others fear!

    • #8
    • June 26, 2020, at 11:55 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  9. MichaelKennedy Coolidge

    The filibuster was a Senate rule that was important as a protection of the rights of a minority in the Senate. Originally, it required a 2/3 vote to end debate and real debate was required, as depicted in “Mr Smith Goes to Washington.” Then, as advocated by Senator Byrd, it only required 60 votes to end debate. Finally, Senator McConnell warned the Democrats that they would regret ending the filibuster for judges. They never thought they would be in the minority again. There are arguments for ending it for legislation, b ut again, there are two sides to the argument.

    The anti-lynching laws were important but mostly as symbols. The Civil Rights laws have allowed double jeopardy in criminal cases like that of the LAPD officers in the Rodney King case. That was a gross miscarriage of justice. “Hate Crimes” legislation is another emotional bit of theater that is ripe for injustice.

    • #9
    • June 27, 2020, at 10:42 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  10. Stad Thatcher

    Looks like the Dems are still lynching blacks, except they’re doing it with House and Senate rules instead of a rope. A noose is a noose, no matter what it’s made of . . .

    • #10
    • June 27, 2020, at 11:00 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  11. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):

    The filibuster was a Senate rule that was important as a protection of the rights of a minority in the Senate. Originally, it required a 2/3 vote to end debate and real debate was required, as depicted in “Mr Smith Goes to Washington.” Then, as advocated by Senator Byrd, it only required 60 votes to end debate. Finally, Senator McConnell warned the Democrats that they would regret ending the filibuster for judges. They never thought they would be in the minority again. There are arguments for ending it for legislation, b ut again, there are two sides to the argument.

    The anti-lynching laws were important but mostly as symbols. The Civil Rights laws have allowed double jeopardy in criminal cases like that of the LAPD officers in the Rodney King case. That was a gross miscarriage of justice. “Hate Crimes” legislation is another emotional bit of theater that is ripe for injustice.

    No, the proposed anti-lynching laws, if passed, would have put a stop to the reign of terror needed to sustain white supremacy. If killing a black man meant federal agents would show up and a federal prosecutor would haul the killer before a grand jury not entirely filled by his fellow white supremacists, then the terror ends and black men start standing up publicly against oppression. 

    The notion of “protecting the rights of a minority in the Senate” sounds important but is not what we all agreed to in ratifying the Constitution. The protection built into the Constitution is for small states against large by giving each the same number of senators. The rest is about avoiding responsibility. Meanwhile, the other real protection for the states in the Senate, the tradition of unlimited floor amendments, has been largely done away with by both Democrat and Republican leaders.

    • #11
    • June 27, 2020, at 2:52 PM PDT
    • Like
  12. MichaelKennedy Coolidge

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):

    The filibuster was a Senate rule that was important as a protection of the rights of a minority in the Senate. Originally, it required a 2/3 vote to end debate and real debate was required, as depicted in “Mr Smith Goes to Washington.” Then, as advocated by Senator Byrd, it only required 60 votes to end debate. Finally, Senator McConnell warned the Democrats that they would regret ending the filibuster for judges. They never thought they would be in the minority again. There are arguments for ending it for legislation, b ut again, there are two sides to the argument.

    The anti-lynching laws were important but mostly as symbols. The Civil Rights laws have allowed double jeopardy in criminal cases like that of the LAPD officers in the Rodney King case. That was a gross miscarriage of justice. “Hate Crimes” legislation is another emotional bit of theater that is ripe for injustice.

    No, the proposed anti-lynching laws, if passed, would have put a stop to the reign of terror needed to sustain white supremacy. If killing a black man meant federal agents would show up and a federal prosecutor would haul the killer before a grand jury not entirely filled by his fellow white supremacists, then the terror ends and black men start standing up publicly against oppression.

    The notion of “protecting the rights of a minority in the Senate” sounds important but is not what we all agreed to in ratifying the Constitution. The protection built into the Constitution is for small states against large by giving each the same number of senators. The rest is about avoiding responsibility. Meanwhile, the other real protection for the states in the Senate, the tradition of unlimited floor amendments, has been largely done away with by both Democrat and Republican leaders.

    Clearly the filibuster was not in the Constitution but the days of all-white juries in the South is long gone. What is now more common is the Duke LaCrosse case.

    • #12
    • June 27, 2020, at 4:48 PM PDT
    • Like
  13. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown

    Don’t believe me on the future of the filibuster? Believe Senator Coons, a Democrat. If they take the Senate and Biden wins, it is gone:

    https://pjmedia.com/election/stacey-lennox/2020/06/27/the-senate-is-broken-and-senator-chris-coons-is-on-board-to-end-the-filibuster-n583130

    • #13
    • July 1, 2020, at 3:50 PM PDT
    • 1 like