The race to replace Price gets its first contestant!

And it’s Judson Hill!

The Senator from Marietta becomes the first candidate to announce in the race, but will surely not be the last. Should he qualify for the race (a special election to replace Congressman Tom Price is expected to be held early next year) he would need to resign from the Senate, thus creating another special election to fill his seat. It would also leave Senator Greg Kirk without a challenger for “best hair” in the upper chamber.

Senator Hill’s initial statement appears to align himself with President-Elect Trump, despite his poor showing in the district earlier this month: “The people of our great country voted in November to chart a new course to restore America’s leadership role in the world,” said Hill. “America’s best days are ahead of us if elected leaders will simply return to our founding principles and seize the opportunity to fundamentally reform Washington, D.C.”

Attempts to Divide and Exclude must be met with Unity

Representative Jason Spencer dropped a bill this week that would outlaw traditional Muslim religious garb for women. Jon did a neutral write of the bill this morning. Here’s a less neutral one.

This bill is anti-American, divisive, unconstitutional, and just plain stupid. It is exactly the type of idea we need to call out as soon the hate becomes ink. But other than Josh McKoon, no Republican has.

We are not like other nations. We value religious expression, we hold it sacred against government interference up until it clashes with the rights of others. This law, of course, straight up bans religious expression. Conversely, the First Amendment protects freedom of religious expression. The Supreme Court has ruled that for a law to be upheld that curtails religious freedom, there must be a compelling state interest at issue, and the law in question must bear a direct correlation to that interest. If a plaintiff can show that a law or governmental practice burdens the free exercise of religious beliefs, the burden shifts to the government to prove that the law or practice is important to the accomplishment of some important or “compelling” secular objective and that it is the least restrictive means for attaining that objective.

What’s the compelling interest here? Spencer’s statement to the AJC said his legislation was intended to apply to women who are driving on public roads. Not a mention of what problem (compelling state interest) it was trying to solve. So, until he explains why scarves are dangerous to Georgia, we’ll call that likely to be found unconstitutional.

Criminal Behavior

Of course, scarves aren’t dangerous. He just wants to ostracize and otherize people that are different, and push back on the now unveiled threat of multiculturalism. That’s a compelling government interest, just not of American government, but if you look around the world you can find many examples of this type of legislated cultural protection.

You know what is dangerous? Not wearing a helmet while riding a

Criminal Behavior
Criminal Behavior

motorcycle. But guess what, this would make wearing a helmet a crime (unless you can somehow construe riding a motorcycle to work as a sporting activity).

Probably sunglasses, too.

The ID part of it doesn’t matter, because it’s already against the DDS rules.

If there was ever an idea we should all be against, this is it. It does nothing except pit people against each other, it’s unconstitutional and anti-American.

 

 

 

Doug Collins Elected to #5 post in House Leadership

Per the AJC, Doug Collins defeated Bill Flores for the Conference Vice Chair position. this is a big deal and signals how well-though of the Gainesville Republican is among his peers. Lynn Jenkins previously held the position but was left without a chair when, after Boehner resigned, she attempted to take the Conference Chair position of Cathy McMorris-Rodgers.

This will also raise his status nationwide, and put him front and center in the internal politics of committee assignments and standing. And it may even be enough to get him bumped ahead of former Bulls coach Doug Collins in the google results. Here’s hoping.

UPDATE 2: Doug Collins has released the following statement on his election:

“My colleagues’ vote is humbling, and I look forward to working on behalf of my fellow Republican House members as Vice Chair of the House Republican Conference. As the blue wall crumbled, it reminded everyone that support for conservative principles is deep and wide. Together, we will show the American people that ours is the party of compassion, freedom, and fairness. Now, Republicans have a mandate to make room for hope and opportunity for all Americans, and it’s my honor to share in that responsibility.” Continue reading “Doug Collins Elected to #5 post in House Leadership”

The Night for Georgia Democrats

Putting aside the grim electoral college results of the night, there were a lot of positives for Georgia Democrats last night.

Let’s start with the performance of Hillary Clinton in Cobb County (details at Teri’s post) and Gwinnett County.

clinton-cobb-results

Ruminate on that for a second. Neither Barack Obama (2012) nor Michelle Nunn broke 43% here.

clinton-gwinnet-results

This is Hillary Clinton winning a majority of the vote in Gwinnett County.

Part of that victory belongs to the campaign of Sam Park, who defeated Valerie Clark in a race that few thought was winnable for Democrats at the outset. Rep-elect Park ran a fantastic campaign, concentrating on voters others have long ignored. He and his team deserves accolades, and they are emblematic of the changes in Gwinnett.

park-results

In Democratic circles we’ve long spoken of the charmed electoral life of Mike Cheokas, and how if anyone could put together a campaign down there, he’d be sent packing. Well, someone did. Continue reading “The Night for Georgia Democrats”

On OSD, “colored people”, and the offer to debate – the NAACP responds

In response to Governor Deal’s statements, this is a guest editorial by Francys Johnson, the State President of the Georgia NAACP. Johnson has served in ordained ministry for eighteen years. He is the Senior Minister at the Mount Moriah Baptist Church in Pembroke, Georgia and the Magnolia Missionary Baptist Church in Statesboro, Georgia. Johnson is in private practice with The Johnson Firm P.C. Attorneys and Counselors of Law in Statesboro, Georgia.

As President of the Georgia NAACP, the State’s oldest and largest civil rights organization, I take serious issue with Georgia Governor Nathan Deal’s use of the racially charged phrase “colored” in a speech to educators in Savannah in defense of Constitutional Amendment 1 as a racial dog whistle.  This is the sort of tactic employed by Donald Trump.  However, I am more concerned with defeating the Governor’s planned take over of local schools labeled chronically failing and the creation a new state charter system known as the so-called Opportunity School District (OSD).  OSD is bad policy that will not improve public education for all children including the ‘colored’ ones like my boys Thurgood and Langston!

Governor Deal is not interested in a real dialogue on improving schools with the Georgia NAACP.  If so, he would not have turned down every request we made to discuss this matter and other policies advanced during his administration.  It is clear the Governor is losing at the polls and has resorted to attacking his opponents.  If the Governor wants a real debate on his so-called Opportunity School District; I will debate him anytime and anywhere. Continue reading “On OSD, “colored people”, and the offer to debate – the NAACP responds”

City’s Study Pours Cold Water on Fayetteville’s Canal Dreams

And yet, it lives.

This is Downtown Fayetteville. And I know what you are thinking, “why would I go there? That looks like solid ground!” Well, the City Council of Fayetteville is posing a question: “What if it weren’t?”

Because they want to put a canal downtown, even though a study commissioned by the City suggests that it wouldn’t be cost-effective, which is code for “this is a bad idea.”

And if you ignore the logistics and the costs, and focus on the paddle boats, well, it gets a whole lot rosier.

“I think it would spur new businesses to come downtown and increase property values,” he said.
Conceptual artwork, pictured at left, show a lively scene of thriving businesses and tranquil waters.
Small towns, especially those within the reach of Atlanta, need to innovate to remain current lest they be engulfed. The streams of commerce that flow through these hamlets must be cultivated and irrigated with new ideas, so they can prosper and bloom.
Here’s hoping Fayetteville can land upon a solution that meets its needs.

Brian Kemp and How Not to Do Your Job – Part 2

Welcome to the continuing coverage of Brian Kemp’s performance as Secretary of State. Catch the first part here.*

In late August, an Athens-Clarke County resident tried to get an absentee ballot, only for election officials to discover that she was dead. Except she wasn’t dead, the Secretary of State just presumed her to be. That’s standard practice for the SoS, to remove dead people from the voting rolls, but you would think they’d have some evidence of a voter’s demise before turning a shovel of dirt onto their still warm voter registration.

But instead, hundreds of folks who were active voters and very much alive were “cancelled” by the SoS. It is unknown how many of these people attempted to vote and could not. Many seemed to have responded to news of their deaths only by continuing to live.

You will be glad to know that many of these voters have been returned to full health.

This is just the latest of missteps in the temperamental tango that is Kemp’s management of elections.

In August, he rejected the Federal government’s help in making sure Georgia’s system was safe from hacking, saying that fears of hacking were overblown“It seems like now it’s just the D.C. media and the bureaucrats, because of the DNC getting hacked — they now think our whole system is on the verge of disaster because some Russian’s going to tap into the voting system,” Kemp, a Republican, told POLITICO in an interview. “And that’s just not — I mean, anything is possible, but it is not probable at all, the way our systems are set up.”

Recently, the FBI released news that over 20 states voter registration systems have been the target of Russian hackers, and at least 4 of those states have been successfully hacked. There has been no response from Kemp’s office as to which category Georgia is in. He may not even know.

Or maybe they didn’t need to hack because they attended the Brian Kemp CD Release Party.

Continue reading “Brian Kemp and How Not to Do Your Job – Part 2”

Hillary buys air time in Georgia, take a look:

Georgia Democrats have been clamoring that Georgia needs to be considered among North Carolina and Virginia as states worthy of investment. After polls showing that she is running close here, Hillary Clinton may have been convinced. The campaign is running the following ad showing veterans and Gold Star parents watching Donald Trump’s remarks.

Georgia has the 9th most veterans. And it stands to reasons that many more people in Georgia know or are related to a veteran than other states.* Trump has made his appeal to veterans a cornerstone of his campaign, which is why an erosion of that foundation could spell difficulty. This ad reminds voters of what has been Trump’s least successful period during the campaign: the Democratic convention and his statements regarding the parents of the fallen soldier that spoke. It will be interesting to see how this ad buy affects Georgia’s numbers.

* Where are veterans least prevalent (as a percentage of the state’s population), you ask? New York and New Jersey.

Trump’s Right: Our Immigration System is Insane…

but he’s wrong about why.

This is a guest editorial by Tracie Klinke, an immigration attorney here in Atlanta.

After Donald Trump’s speech on immigration many people asked me what I thought about it. After all, as an immigration attorney steeped in the topic day in and day out, I’m bound to have an opinion or two! I think a more interesting question, though, would have been to ask me what I did after the speech. After listening to Mr. Trump’s speech, I went into the office Thursday morning more fired up than usual to get to work. I’m a strong believer that actions speak louder than words and I was anxious to get to action.

I went to work and helped a domestic violence victim from Jamaica get her green card; I helped a family from Congo file for asylum while their husband/father rots in a jail and is tortured there because he supported the opposition; I filed a waiver application for that Honduran man whose U.S. born wife breaks down in tears when she thinks of her husband leaving the country because he’s the one who holds her hand through chemo treatments; I even filed an application to ask that a Mexican mother without any status at all be granted legal status so she can stay here with her young U.S. citizen daughter who was sexually assaulted, near death, and now needs years of physical treatment – not to mention a lifetime of mental care.

Yes, these are the more dramatic stories I hear, but these are my clients and I am proud to be their attorney. Yet, I’m humbled. The grace that they show in the most trying of circumstances, their unwavering belief that the USA will protect them and allow them to become their best selves…well, I’m lucky to work with them.

Mr. Trump’s speech wasn’t about my clients, despite it being about immigrants. It was hardly about immigration law and policy – at least not the law and policy I know. Immigration law is intricate and insane. The mother of the sexually abused little girl – it will take her two years to get her case reviewed, five years of waiting on a list before she’ll be granted status, three years before she’ll be granted lawful permanent residency, and then maybe five years after that she’ll be able to apply for U.S. citizenship, but only if she’s an absolute model member of our community. The man whose wife has cancer –  since he came to the U.S. illegally when he was 17 there’s no “line” for him to get in, even though he’s married to a U.S. citizen. His wife’s illness makes it a compelling circumstance for him to return to the U.S. before the required ten years that he’d otherwise be forced to wait outside of the United States before returning to her. Continue reading “Trump’s Right: Our Immigration System is Insane…”