Political Insider

An AJC blog about Atlanta politics, Georgia politics, Georgia and metro Atlanta election campaigns. Because all politics is local.

Blacks see race behind GOP refusal to consider Obama nominee to U.S. Supreme Court

Beginning with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s abrupt declaration that his U.S. Senate wouldn’t consider any nomination by President Barack Obama, black voters see the flap over replacing Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia as one more slap at the nation’s first black president, the New York Times reports today.

A senior administration official said Lewis will be part of a group that  includes several generations of civil rights leaders. They'll be discussing ways to trust between the police and local communities,and Obama’s priorities during his final year in office.

Other expected attendees include C.T. Vivian, Al Sharpton, NAACP president Cornell Brooks and Aislinn Pulley, the co-founder of Black Lives Matter Chicago, as well as Attorney General Loretta Lynch.


First Amendment attorneys in Atlanta, start your engines.  Watchdog activist William Perry received a warning letter from Atlanta's city attorney after, on WAGA-TV, he labeled Mayor Kasim Reed the "prince of thieves" for his deal with the city school system to settle a lengthy fight over the Beltline:

You can read the entire letter here.

"Your patently false statement that Mayor Reed 'decided to steal the peoples' money' and your mischaracterization of this payment as 'unlawful' deceives the public," wrote a trio of attorneys representing city agencies. "Once you have reviewed these attachments, you will surely recognize the fallacy of your prior statements and take swift corrective measures."

If not, it concluded, "we will immediately take all appropriate legal action."

Perry, who once led Georgia's Common Cause chapter, seems unfazed by the threat. "I am glad to give the mayor and his attorney their say," he said. "The mayor might like to rumble but I am not looking for a fight, I am just trying to defend what is right. I stand by my words."


The Georgia House is losing a young Republican long considered a rising star. State Rep. B.J. Pak, R-Lilburn, the only Asian-American in the Legislature, sent word that he won't stand for reelection to the Gwinnett County seat he's held for three terms. But he hinted that he's not done.

"As for the future, public service is in my blood," he posted on Facebook. "I have no doubt I will return to serving the public again; but in what capacity and when, only the future will tell. So this is not a goodbye, but merely a farewell."


Members of Georgia’s congressional delegation are unhappy with recent remarks from Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack suggesting farmers won’t have access to specific government subsidies for cottonseed, and several are meeting with him to ask him to reconsider.

The U.S. cotton industry has been hit hard in recent years. Countries such as China are dictating the market and sitting on millions of bales of cotton, which has further depressed prices and driven down production in states like Georgia.

Southern lawmakers have been pushing for lifelines to help stabilize the domestic industry and make it more competitive internationally. They want the Agriculture Department to classify cottonseed in a way that would allow the industry tap into specific kinds of federal subsidies, but Vilsack said the department does not have the authority to make that designation.

“The American cotton industry is struggling and does not have any tools to help cope with devastatingly low prices,” said U.S. Rep. Rick Allen, R-Evans, who signed onto a letter with more than 100 other members of Congress earlier this month asking Vilsack for the special designation. Johnny Isakson and David Perdue penned a similar request with other  GOP senators from the South last month.

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany, promised to work with lawmakers to counter Vilsack by modifying the 2014 Farm Bill.

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About the Author

Tamar Hallerman is The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Washington correspondent, covering Congress, federal agencies and other government activities that impact Georgia.