Houston U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee has introduced a bill to broaden the definition of hate crimes, with the goal of preventing and prosecuting crimes motivated by white supremacy and conspiracy to commit such crimes.
House Resolution 61, which would amend Title 18 of the United States Code, says: “A person commits a white supremacy inspired hate crime when white supremacist ideology has motivated the planning, development, preparation, or perpetration of actions that constituted a crime or were undertaken in furtherance of activity that, if effectuated, would have constituted a crime.”
With respect to any information or evidence obtained by the Department of Justice (DOJ) of any unlawful action specified in Jackson Lee’s bill, the DOJ shall have the authority to conduct operations and activities pursuant to such crimes.
The DOJ would also be authorized to conduct investigations, intervene and take any other measures it deems necessary and appropriate to prevent, mitigate,= or stop any potentially violent action. The DOJ’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program would keep track of white supremacist-inspired hate crimes and other related actions, and department officials would have the authority to prosecute those responsible for them.
Jackson Lee requested that the DOJ report its findings annually to the relevant Congressional committees. Rep. Lauren Boebert, a Republican from Colorado, claimed the legislation “makes a mockery of the First Amendment.” While Boebert, a right-wing leader, misrepresented the legislation after reading a misleading news article, Jackson Lee schooled her on Twitter.
“First of all, it took me about 32 seconds of reading the article you cited to understand that none of you know what you are talking about,” Jackson Lee said. To be convicted of a hate crime in some jurisdictions, “H.R. 61 simply deals with adding white supremacy to a list of reasons,” the Texas Democrat explained.
“So, when the article states that ‘only white people can be charged with’ this crime, that’s flagrantly false,’ Jackson Lee said. “Your argument assumes that only white people can hold white supremacist views and that only certain groups of people can perpetrate violence motivated by white supremacy.
“I would hope now that your argument would not shift to ‘why is white supremacy being added to this law?’ That would be egregious. “Yes, white supremacy should be added to this law. Why? Because as [FBI Director Christopher] Wray testified, it’s a major domestic terrorist threat.”