The Courtroom of the Supreme Court showing Associate Justice Antonin Scalia’s Bench Chair and the Bench in front of his seat draped in black following his death on February 13, 2016. Photo courtesy of the Supreme Court.
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The Courtroom of the Supreme Court showing Associate Justice Antonin Scalia’s Bench Chair and the Bench in front of his seat draped in black following his death on February 13, 2016.

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

The Courtroom of the Supreme Court showing Associate Justice Antonin Scalia’s Bench Chair and the Bench in front of his seat draped in black following his death on February 13, 2016. Photo courtesy of the Supreme Court.
View Caption Hide Caption
The Courtroom of the Supreme Court showing Associate Justice Antonin Scalia’s Bench Chair and the Bench in front of his seat draped in black following his death on February 13, 2016.

The Courtroom of the Supreme Court showing Associate Justice Antonin Scalia’s Bench Chair and the Bench in front of his seat draped in black following his death on February 13, 2016. Photo courtesy of the Supreme Court.

The Courtroom of the Supreme Court showing Associate Justice Antonin Scalia’s Bench Chair and the Bench in front of his seat draped in black following his death on February 13, 2016. Photo courtesy of the 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.

The piece includes comments from the leader of House Democrats in Georgia:logo-all

The anger and outrage that Mr. McConnell’s position has touched off among African-Americans could have implications for the presidential election. Leading African-American Democrats are trying to use it to motivate rank-and-file blacks to vote in November, the first presidential election in a decade in which Mr. Obama will not be on the ballot and in which Democrats fear black participation could drop.

“Anger becomes action when it’s directly tied to a moment, and the moment now is the election on Nov. 8,” said Stacey Abrams, a Democratic state representative from Georgia and the House minority leader there, adding that Mr. Scalia’s death meant that this presidential campaign could no longer be construed as a mere “thought exercise.”

…..Ms. Abrams agreed, saying the Supreme Court and its powerful influence on people’s lives is especially resonant with blacks. “Congress is denying our president his rights as a president, but, more than that, they’re denying the legacy of his presidency,” she said. “That will animate Democratic voters across the board but especially African-Americans, who realize more than many voters how great an impact the Supreme Court can have on freedom.”

***

Late Wednesday, a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal national poll declared that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump had fallen sharply and now trails U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.

We quickly received a note from Emory University political scientist Alan Abramowitz, who expressed a high degree of skepticism:

“[T]here is no evidence from any other national or state poll that this is really happening. In fact, polling in S.C. itself shows no such collapse of Trump support—if anything, Trump’s lead has increased since the [Saturday] debate. Other recent national polls with interview dates overlapping with this one (Quinnipiac, USA Today) show no such trend.”

Abramowitz declared the poll an “outlier.”

This morning, the Emory U. prof pointed us to a CBS News/New York Times poll that carries this headline: “Trump maintains commanding lead over GOP field.”

***

Just how big is Donald Trump’s rally Sunday rally at the Georgia World Congress Center expected to be? The Congress Center reports that the Trump campaign rented out Exhibit Hall A3. All 105,000 square feet of it.

That seats approximately 10,000 people, folks.

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U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Atlanta, at the 2014 opening of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta. Bob Andres, bandres@ajc.com

U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Atlanta, at the 2014 opening of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta. Bob Andres, bandres@ajc.com

At the close of a Wednesday post on U.S. Rep. John Lewis and Hillary Clinton’s struggles to build support among millenials, we reported that the Georgia congressman would be speaking at 3 p.m. today at Brenau University in Gainesville. That event has been cancelled — Lewis will be at the White House this afternoon for a meeting with President Barack Obama.

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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