The NAACP’s appeal for fed­eral review of the Florida ver­dict in the murder case against George Zim­merman reprises the calls for fed­eral statu­tory reme­dies for racial homi­cides, made first in the wake of the Civil War, then in the fol­lowing decades to con­trol lynching, and finally after the gay-​​hating murder of Matthew Shepard and the lynching of James Byrd.

As these laws and reform efforts signal, the national gov­ern­ment should bear pri­mary respon­si­bility for pun­ishing vio­lent sup­pres­sion of con­sti­tu­tional rights — including the rights to life and due process. But unfor­tu­nately there is no neat fit between existing law and the known facts in the Zim­merman case.

Read the article at WBUR →