Civil Rights: Toward Outlawing Murder

CIVIL RIGHTS Toward Outlawing Murder

In the inexorable tide of new rightsbills that has flowed from an increasingly enlightened Congress in the past decade, there has remained one area of ironic negligence: the lack of strong federal laws against racial murder. Given the intransigence of many Southern juries, often nothing more than a fuzzy, fragile bit of Reconstruction legislation stands between segregationist killers and total freedom. Last week the U.S. Supreme Court moved to sharpen the focus — and the teeth — of those 19th century laws in decisions that dealt with two of the South's most wanton racist slayings:...

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