The American Civil Liberties Union cheered the House of Representatives for passing H.R. 923, the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act, by a vote of 422-2. The bill authorizes $10 million annually to establish a special federal investigator in the FBI's civil rights unit focusing on solving crimes committed before 1969. In addition, it allocates additional funds to assist local law enforcement agencies with investigating and prosecuting unsolved civil rights crimes.
The bill would re-open hate crime cases during the Civil Rights Era, focusing on investigating and prosecuting murder cases occurring prior to 1970. Representatives John Lewis (D-GA) and Hulshof (R-MO) sponsored the legislative counterpart in the House. Only Congressman Paul and Westmoreland voted against the bill. It was set to sail through the Senate via unanimous consent. And then, Tom "rampant high school lesbianism" Coburn put a hold on the bill.
Senators Chris Dodd and Patrick Leahy issued this statement condemning Sen. Coburn's delaying tactics:
"My colleagues and I have fought long and hard for this bill in order to bring to justice people who have perpetrated heinous crimes based on racial hatred," said Dodd. "It has been a bipartisan effort, and I am angry that one of my colleagues is delaying this bill's passage under false pretense. While we allow another day, another week, another month to pass before enacting this legislation, we allow racist criminals to live the lives of innocent people when they should be apprehended and brought to justice. After so many decades, to further delay justice and solace to the families of the victims of these horrific crimes is simply unimaginable."