Newton's death could slow new-constitution efforts


M0ONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — For years, Democratic Rep. Demetrius Newton pressed efforts in the Alabama Legislature for a rewriting of a state constitution he says was outdated and even racist in parts.

The African-American civil rights attorney — who once represented Rosa Parks and the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. — died Wednesday at 85. Now no one knows who will take up the effort he championed. Newton had long sought a rewriting of Alabama's 1901 constitution, saying it was outdated, too long and included offensive language.

Rep. Rod Scott of Birmingham is among those who say they hope someone will take up where Newton left off. But no one seems to know who might step forward, particularly since the Alabama Legislature has regularly rejected most efforts to rewrite the more than century-old constitution.

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