Senate Judiciary squares off over John Lewis voting rights bill
The Senate Judiciary Committee has held a hearing on the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has introduced. Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Kristen Clarke testified before the committee, urging passage of the bill and reinstatement of the Justice Department’s “preclearance” authority over changes made to election laws at the state and local levels. Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) expressed skepticism, calling the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act a “disaster.” Though the Senate has engaged in much activity this year on the subject of voting rights, the issue has recently taken a back seat to other pressing concerns, such as the nation’s debt ceiling.
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