Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) are calling on President Obama to pardon famed boxer Jack Johnson posthumously.
The cause has long been a pet project for the senators. While rare, they said posthumous pardons are not unprecedented.
Johnson, the first black heavyweight-boxing champion, was convicted in 1913 under the Mann Act for transporting a white woman across state lines. The law, intended to stop human trafficking and prostitution, was sometimes used with racial motivation.
The Senate passed a resolution by unanimous consent last year supporting the pardon on the 100th anniversary of Johnson’s conviction. Last year, Reid, a former boxer himself, also teamed up with Mike Tyson to start an online petition calling for the pardon.
Both houses of Congress have approved resolutions supporting a pardon, and McCain and Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) have introduced resolutions to that effect going back a decade.
The Obama administration has previously written that it does not process posthumous pardons as a matter of policy.
According to the Justice Department, Obama has issued only 52 pardons in his more than five years in office.