Rep. Scott Seeks to Block Obama's Judicial Nominees
Says Obama's picks for six federal judgeships do not represent Georgia's demographics, values
A Georgia Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives is seeking permission to testify at the Senate confirmation hearings for six nominees to federal judicial posts in Georgia, saying outraged constituents claim the candidates "are unrepresentative of the demographics and values of the state."
Rep. David Scott, whose 13th District includes parts of Clayton, Cobb, Douglas, Fulton, Fayette, and Henry counties, called the selection process "an abomination" for remaining secret until an announcement was made the Friday before Christmas, "an opportune time to avoid negative publicity,
In a letter delivered Friday to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Scott asked to testify at hearings for two nominees for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit and four other candidates for posts in the Northern District of Georgia. Scott's goal: to share "very important and critical background information" with the committee about the nominees themselves as well as how the state's congressional Democrats were "shut out from any input in the selection process by the White House."
He wrote, "We must not allow lifetime appointed judges to be rammed through the hearing process without sufficient input from the people who will be affected by their future judicial actions."
Scott's letter to Leahy also indicated that confirmation hearings for Georgia's nominees could begin soon. A committee spokeswoman could not be reached for comment.
Scott's letter was sent two weeks after he and fellow House Democrats from Georgia, John Lewis and Hank Johnson, called on President Barack Obama to withdraw the nominations. They argued that the slate of candidates lacked diversity, as only one of the six is an African-American. They also claimed the majority of the candidates failed to reflect a more progressive judicial philosophy.
At a Dec. 23 news conference, Lewis said he was prepared to testify against two of the president's district court nominees, Judge Michael Boggs of the Georgia Court of Appeals and Troutman Sanders partner Mark Cohen. "It's not too late to turn this train around," Lewis said.
Lewis later told a USA Today columnist, "It's not easy to stand up to your president and say you got it wrong. But we've got to look beyond the next three years. These people are going to get a lifetime appointment."
Lewis' spokeswoman could not be reached Monday for comment.
Michael Andel, Scott's chief of staff, told the Daily Report on Monday that Scott's desire to testify against a Democratic president's nominees "is unusual. I don't know if it's happened before." Scott was prompted to do so, he said, by a groundswell of outrage and concern from constituents following the White House's Dec. 19 announcements.