Senate OKs Civil Rights-Era Cold-Case Unit

Bill would give Justice Department $10M a year to examine killings
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser User
Posted Sep 25, 2008 12:57 PM CDT
Sen. Tom Coburn opposed the rights bill for two years before helping pass it today.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)
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(Newser) – The US Senate unanimously passed a bill that would open a Justice Department unit to re-examine civil-rights era killings that have gone unpunished, the Jackson (Miss.) Clarion-Ledger reports. The Emmett Till Act, named after the Chicago teen whose murderers confessed publicly, has also passed the House and will be signed by President Bush.

"The greatest criminal manhunt in this country's history is under way for these perpetrators," says the bill’s architect. At least one senator, an Oklahoma Republican, had early objections because Democrats didn't cut “lesser priorities" to fund the bill, but came around.