Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) introduced a House bill criminalizing “conspiracy to commit white supremacy,” which includes slurs against non-white people that can influence individuals to commit a hate crime.
The bill, H.R. 61 “Leading Against White Supremacy Act of 2023,” introduced on Monday by Democratic congressional representative Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, is a bid to “prevent and prosecute white supremacy inspired hate crime and conspiracy to commit white supremacy inspired hate crime.”
The congressional bill, which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, stipulates that a person is involved in a white-supremacy-inspired hate crime “when white supremacy 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.”
In other words, “conspiracy” to engage in white-supremacy-inspired hate crime involves the dissemination of content “advancing white supremacy, white supremacist ideology, antagonism based on ‘replacement theory', or hate speech that vilifies or is otherwise directed against any non-White person or group.”
It also requires the Department of Justice (DOJ) to be granted “authority to conduct operations and activities pursuant” to what it considers “necessary and appropriate to interdict, mitigate, or prevent such action from culminating in violent activity.”
The bill would give the department the power to “prosecute” persons engaged in these acts, along with keeping “records of white supremacy inspired hate crimes” and making annual reports available.
In the aftermath, Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) said Democrats were “making a mockery of the First Amendment.”
“In case you weren't aware of what the Democrats were prioritizing in the 118th Congress, just take a look,” she wrote. “When they're not bankrupting our country, they're busy making a mockery of the First Amendment.”
“Who wants to tell her about the First Amendment?” asked the conservative lawyer Harmeet Dhillon.
“Congress[wo]man Sheila Jackson Lee just introduced a bill that would make it a federal crime for White people, and White people only, to criticize mass immigration or to say anything that she claims would vilify ‘a non-White person or group,'” one Twitter user wrote.
“Sheila Jackson Lee should be introduced to the Bill of Rights. Particularly the first amendment pertaining to free speech,” another tweeter wrote.
“This is a disturbing, yet not surprising, piece of #AntiWhite legislation,” wrote another user.
In the past, Jackson Lee has argued that racism that is systemic and institutional “taints and spoils” the ways Americans treat minorities, adding that there are “aspects of America's laws, America's structure as relates to the black community in particular and other communities that is racist.”