"Following the death of George Floyd in police custody in May and the fatal February shooting of Ahmaud Arbery, interest has heightened in legislation that would criminalize lynching--often described as death or bodily injury caused by two or more individuals acting without legal authority. A number of states have enacted anti-lynching laws, as localized crimes like murder tend to be a subject of state, rather than federal law. Although the conduct criminalized under those state laws can implicate various federal laws such as 18 U.S.C. §§ 241, 242, there is no federal law expressly governing lynching notwithstanding decades of legislative proposals on that front. In June, Members introduced two police reform bills--the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020 (Justice in Policing Act) and the Just and Unifying Solutions To Invigorate Communities Everywhere Act of 2020 (JUSTICE Act)--both of which originally included 'substantively identical' sections described as anti-lynching provisions. The anti-lynching provision was later removed from the version of the Justice in Policing Act that passed the House."
CRS Legal Sidebar, LSB10504
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/