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Congressman Bobby Scott

Representing the 3rd District of Virginia

Civil Rights

Congressman Scott is an ardent defender of civil rights.  Although America has made great strides in civil rights in the past few decades, current events have shown that we still have a long way to go.  The current threats to civil rights are not the explicit actions our predecessors may have seen and experienced. Instead, they are subtle actions that, if allowed to continue, could threaten our rights and lives in the future. Examples of such actions include religious and racial profiling, xenophobic rhetoric in political discourse, expelling minorities from school in disproportionate rates, uneven application of justice, employment discrimination, restricting the right to vote, and pay inequality.

Congressman Scott has co-sponsored several pieces of legislation aimed at correcting or preventing the furtherance of discriminatory acts, such as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) of 2013, the Student Non-discrimination Act of 2013, the End Racial Profiling Act of 2013, and the Respect for Marriage Act (which would make it illegal for any state to refuse to recognize a legal same-sex marriage from any other state). He also supported the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 and is a cosponsor of the Paycheck Fairness Act.

More on Civil Rights

June 15, 2017 Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) received the National Visibility Award from the Secular Coalition of America in recognition of his leadership in protecting the First Amendment, religious liberty, and separation of church and state. “I am honored to receive the National Visibility Award from the Secular Coalition of America,” said Rep. Scott. “As a defender of the Constitution’s First Amendment and an Episcopalian, I can attest to the power of working with people of many faiths and secularists who understand how reason, critical thinking, and empathy has helped our nation face its adversities and achieve great things.
June 12, 2017 Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Bobby Scott issued the following statement to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Loving v. Virginia: “In 1959, Mildred and Richard Loving were charged with violating Virginia’s ban on interracial marriage. This injustice launched a courageous legal challenge that culminated in the Supreme Court ruling on this day, 50 years ago, that the United States would no longer allow race-based restrictions on the right to marry. The Loving Court unanimously stated that marriage is one of the ‘basic civil rights of man,’ confirming that America is a place of equality and freedom.
May 25, 2017 Floor Statements
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to H.R. 1761. I first want to point out that the case outlined by the chair of the Judiciary Committee that failed in Federal court could have been brought in State court and the defendant would have been subjected to extremely long, lengthy prison time for the heinous conduct that he had participated in. Mr. Speaker, this legislation expands the use of preexisting mandatory minimum sentences. Although the bill does not technically create new mandatory minimums, it does expose additional defendants to preexisting mandatory minimum sentences of 15, 25, and 35 years.
May 23, 2017 Floor Statements
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the gentlewoman from North Carolina (Ms. Foxx) and the gentleman from Minnesota (Mr. Lewis) for working with this side of the aisle on bipartisan comprehensive reauthorization of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act. Juvenile courts were established by States in the first half of the 20th century based on the emerging legal theory that children should not be held as fully responsible for their actions as adults, a theory borne out over time by scientific research on impulse control and brain development. The opportunity to rehabilitate children became the focus of the system rather than punishment of offenders. Congress first articulated national standards for juvenile justice in the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974, or JJDPA. Long overdue for reauthorization, the bill creates important core protections for our children in the juvenile justice system in each State.
May 23, 2017 Floor Statements
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 1808, the Improving Support for Missing and Exploited Children Act. This bill will strengthen recovery and prevention efforts of missing and exploited children by renewing and updating support for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, or NCMEC. The terror experienced by parents of a missing child is unfathomable. Both the child and the parents experience pain, trauma, fear, and uncertainty. This is why affected families need the full support of law enforcement, schools, businesses, and other entities that may be able to assist in locating and recovering missing or exploited children.
May 23, 2017 Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1809, the Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 2017 by voice vote. Introduced by Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Rep. Jason Lewis (R-MN) the bipartisan legislation reauthorizes and reforms the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) to help state and local leaders better serve juvenile offenders and at-risk youth. “Today’s bipartisan work in the House brings us one step closer to dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline,” said Ranking Member Scott. “H.R. 1809, the Juvenile Justice Reform Act, includes necessary improvements to federal juvenile crime policy that are firmly grounded in evidence. The bill strengthens the basic protections for children in the juvenile systems in all states. It also ensures public dollars are invested in a continuum of evidence-based initiatives, and alternatives to incarceration and secure detention. We know this strategy produces positive results for at-risk youth that lead to reduced crime and long-term savings. This policy is based on the Youth PROMISE Act, legislation I first introduced in 2007, and I’m glad that we are able to pass the core parts of the Youth PROMISE Act today.”
May 22, 2017 Floor Statements
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to H.R. 1862. While I support the underlying goal of punishing sex offenders, the existing Federal statutes already severely punish these offenses. This legislation, unfortunately, will impose a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment. This expansion of mandatory minimum sentences of life without parole comes on the heels of Attorney General Sessions' memorandum of May 12, 2017, which has been roundly criticized for rescinding the Holder memo. The Sessions memo directs all Federal prosecutors to pursue the most serious charges and the maximum sentence to include mandatory minimum sentences. This directive takes away from Federal prosecutors and judges the ability to individually assess unique circumstances of each case, including any factors that may mitigate against imposing a life sentence in every case.
May 22, 2017 Floor Statements
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to H.R. 1842. While I support the underlying goal of punishing sex offenders, the existing sentencing laws already provide serious punishment for this conduct. Unfortunately, this legislation expands nonmandatory minimums to additional offenders. This expansion of mandatory of minimums comes at the heels of Attorney General Sessions' memo, which has been roundly criticized for rescinding the Holder memo and directing all Federal prosecutors to pursue the most serious charges and the maximum sentence, to include mandatory minimum sentences.
May 17, 2017 Floor Statements
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 984, the Thomasina E. Jordan Indian Tribes of Virginia Federal Recognition Act and I want to thank my fellow Virginian, Congressman ROB WITTMAN for introducing this bill, and the gentleman from Utah, Chairman Bishop and the gentleman from Arizona, Ranking Member GRIJALVA, for their leadership and cooperation in bringing the bill to the floor. Four hundred ten years ago, the first English settlers founded Jamestown, Virginia. The founding of Jamestown represented a first step in the creation of our great Republic, and the success of this colony is owed to the help of the indigenous people of Virginia.
May 16, 2017 Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) reintroduced the Justice Safety Valve Act, S. 1127, in the U.S. Senate. Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Representative Thomas Massie (R-KY) are reintroducing companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives. Last week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions directed federal prosecutors to pursue the most serious charges and maximum sentences in their cases, returning to stricter enforcement of mandatory minimum sentences. The Justice Safety Valve Act would give federal judges the ability to impose sentences below mandatory minimums in appropriate cases based on mitigating factors.