Civil and Human Rights

RELEASE: John Lewis, Ferocious Defender of the Constitution

WASHINGTON – On news of the passing of Congressman John Lewis, Constitutional Accountability Center President Elizabeth Wydra issued the following statement:

Our Constitution, and its bedrock values of equality and justice, had no fiercer defender than Congressman John Lewis. That ferocity continues to electrify and inspire us at Constitutional Accountability Center, and all in America who demand that our nation live up to its revolutionary founding promises. 

Before he crossed that bridge in Selma, John Lewis prepared himself to be arrested and put in jail. He bought a backpack from an Army surplus store and packed it with two books, an apple, an orange, and a toothbrush and toothpaste. He didn’t know it then, but when he strapped on that backpack he carried all of us with him, too. 

The bridge to justice is long, and we are still making our way across, but we are permanently in debt to John Lewis for carrying us so far. He has laid down his immense burden, at long last, but millions of those he inspired and worked with and fought for have already picked it up again. That is his legacy to the world.

For decades, we have been blessed to have John Lewis point the course of America toward true north. That blessing continues. The night of our nation’s current struggle through injustice and pandemic is especially dark, but we can look up in hope. We know where we must go because John Lewis’s star shines brighter than ever before.


Constitutional Accountability Center is a think tank, public interest law firm, and action center dedicated to fulfilling the progressive promise of the Constitution’s text and history. Visit CAC’s website at


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