Chief justice| An advertisement by a progressive group compares Supreme Court justices.

Chief justice| An advertisement by a progressive group compares Supreme Court justices.

To encourage senators to support voting rights legislation, Demand Justice will launch a TV ad.

Demand Justice, a progressive legal organization, is using the media to call on Congress to approve voting rights legislation in honor of the late Representative John Lewis (D-Ga.). And it’s doing so by drawing comparisons between some of the current justices on the Supreme Court and segregationists from the Jim Crow era.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in two Arizona voting rights cases that progressives worry will further weaken the protections of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Demand Justice will begin airing the advertisement in the Washington, D.C., market on that day.

The narrator of the advertisement claims, “John Lewis marched and shed blood so the Voting Rights Act could be passed.” However, [Chief Justice] John Roberts’ Supreme Court is now poised to sabotage his legacy.

The narrator adds, “In 1965, opponents of voting rights swung clubs on a bridge in Selma. They currently hold a seat on the highest court.

Since there are only “five figures” behind the advertisement, it appears to be provocative. Roberts has faced criticism in the past for his rulings about voting rights, but rarely with such direct comparisons.

Demand Justice is broadcasting the advertisement, according to executive director Brian Fallon, for two reasons. The first, he said in an interview, “is to draw attention to this issue and maybe shame Roberts and at least one other conservative out of shredding what remains of the Voting Rights Act.” Republican politicians are trying to make it more difficult to vote in various states.

The second is to exert pressure on Congress to enact the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) put out last year following Lewis’ passing. The entire Democratic caucus joined Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) in co-sponsoring the legislation, but it never made it out of committee.

The proposed legislation would reinstate the safeguards provided by the Voting Rights Act that was eliminated by the Supreme Court in Shelby County v. Holder. According to Fallon, pushing for its passage also implicitly supports doing away with the filibuster since “any genuine drive to enact the John Lewis Act” would necessitate it.

Demand Justice has a history of using forceful methods.

When Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) was up for reelection in 2019, the group ran commercials condemning him for supporting some of Trump’s judicial nominations, which Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the new chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, at the time called “far out of line.”

In 2019, Fallon defended the advertisements, arguing that if Coons was proud of his record, he shouldn’t have to worry about them.

The new advertisement also calls on Congress to “transform the Supreme Court” about liberal plans to increase the number of judges on the court, institute term limits, and enact other adjustments.

President Joe Biden promised to create such a committee during the campaign, and the Biden administration is now working to accomplish so.

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