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Rep. John Lewis waits to enter the Senate chamber in December 2019. Photo: Tom Williams

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) introduced a bill with the support of 47 co-sponsors on Wednesday that would fully restore the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965 in the name of the late civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.).

Why it matters: The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act aims to counter the Supreme Court's controversial 2013 ruling in Shelby County v. Holder, which gutted voter protections that had required states with a history of racial discrimination to gain federal approval before changing voting laws.

  • Lewis, who passed away last Friday, fought his entire life to secure equal voting rights and did not live to see the Voting Rights Act restored.
  • The Senate bill named in his honor would also provide the federal government with "other critical tools to combat what has become a full-fledged assault on Americans’ right to vote," Leahy said in a statement.
  • The bill was co-sponsored by every Democratic senator and the two independents who caucus with Democrats, as well as Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)

The state of play: The Democratic-led House passed a similar bill to restore the Voting Rights Act in 2019, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has declined to bring it up for a vote.

What they're saying: “John called voting ‘the most powerful nonviolent tool we have to create a more perfect union.’ He was right. And that’s why we cannot stand idly by while states engage in flagrant suppression schemes to take this tool away from marginalized communities," Leahy said in a speech on the Senate floor.

  • "The House already passed the companion to the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act in December. Now we must do our part. We cannot claim to honor the life of John Lewis if we refuse to carry on his life’s work. Or worse, if we stand in the way of that work."

Go deeper: Jim Clyburn calls for Congress to pass John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of 2020

Editor's note: This post has been corrected to reflect that 48 senators back the bill (not 47).

Go deeper

Schumer: Coney Barrett vote "one of the darkest days" in Senate history

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Monday "will go down as one of the darkest days" in Senate history, moments before the chamber voted 52-48 to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

The bottom line: Schumer said his Republican colleagues "decided to thwart the will of the people" by holding the vote eight days ahead of the presidential election, despite opposing President Obama's nominee because it was an election year.

Oct 27, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Senate confirms Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court

Judge Amy Coney Barrett before a meeting on Capitol Hill on Oct. 21. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/pool/AFP via Getty Images

The Senate voted 52-48 on Monday to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. She is expected to be sworn in within hours.

Why it matters: President Trump and Senate Republicans have succeeded in confirming a third conservative justice in just four years, tilting the balance of the Supreme Court firmly to the right for perhaps a generation.

More than a dozen injured in downtown Austin shooting

Police tape in Austin, Texas in 2018. Photo: y Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post via Getty Images

A shooting in a busy part of downtown Austin, Texas, early Saturday injured at least 13 people, including two who are in critical condition.

The state of play: Gunfire erupted around 1:30 a.m. along 6th Street, a popular area with bars and restaurants. The suspected shooter remains at large, Austin police said. "It is unknown if there is one, or multiple suspects involved," they noted, adding the shooting appears to be an isolated incident.