Archive for the ‘U.S. Supreme Court’ Category

U.S. Supreme Court affirms metro Atlanta can use Lake Lanier for drinking water

The U.S. Supreme Court announced today that it will not grant Alabama and Florida’s request for review of the decades-long legal dispute with Georgia over the intended use of water from Lake Lanier. That means metro Atlanta can use it to quench the thirst of its residents and businesses.

For Georgia, that’s bigger than the court’s decision upholding portions of HB 87.

The word from Attorney General Sam Olens:

“I am pleased that the U.S. Supreme Court has denied certiorari, and the excellent decision by the Eleventh Circuit is the law – making clear that Lake Lanier can indeed be used for water supply for Georgia. It is my hope that we can finally put this decades-long legal dispute to rest and work together with our sister states — in meeting rooms, not courtrooms — to develop a fair and equitable water sharing plan and promote a strong and vibrant Southeastern region.”

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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Your morning jolt: Nathan Deal to sign bill to require drug tests for welfare recipients

Georgia Public Broadcasting quotes state Sen. John Albers, R-Roswell, as saying that Gov. Nathan Deal today will sign into law his bill to require drug tests for welfare applicants.

A lawsuit to block enforcement – which recently happened in Florida – is likely.

Most, but not all, district meetings of the Georgia GOP came off smoothly on Saturday. GOP activist Vikki McReynolds posted this account of deliberations in the 13th congressional district (David Scott, D) on Facebook:

”I just got kicked out of the 13th District convention because I called for a point of order because they did not seat our delegates and were seating alternates instead. … Police tried to carry me out and I laid on the floor !”

The meetings chose the bulk of Georgia delegates who will attend the Republican National Convention in Tampa. We’ll try to assemble a complete list this afternoon.

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Speaking of the gentleman from the 13th: U.S. Rep. David Scott, D-Atlanta, on Saturday accused Republicans of …

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Clarence Thomas, a Pin Point museum, and a wealthy friend

Interesting weekend piece from Mike McIntire and the New York Times:

PIN POINT, Ga. — Clarence Thomas was here promoting his memoir a few years ago when he bumped into Algernon Varn, whose grandfather once ran a seafood cannery that employed Justice Thomas’s mother as a crab picker.

Algernon Varn, whose grandfather once ran a seafood cannery where Justice Clarence Thomas’s mother worked, on the site of the old cannery. Mr. Varn said Justice Thomas put him in touch with a buyer to restore the property and build a museum.

Mr. Varn lived at the old cannery site, a collection of crumbling buildings on a salt marsh just down the road from a sign heralding this remote coastal community outside Savannah as Justice Thomas’s birthplace. The justice asked about plans for the property, and Mr. Varn said he hoped it could be preserved.

“And Clarence said, ‘Well, I’ve got a friend I’m going to put you in touch with,’ ” Mr. Varn recalled, adding that he was later told by others not to …

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Your morning jolt: Another anti-abortion bill may be sinking

Over in Iowa, the hot topic is the resurgence of social conservatives in the budding Republican caucus season.

Not so much in Georgia.

Social conservatives here have had a rough few years getting anti-abortion bills through the Legislature. This year, they have been reduced to one: SB 210, sponsored by state Sen. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville, would make it easier to sue abortion providers.

Pro-life forces have long suspected that many of the state restrictions imposed on physicians who perform abortions – parental consent for women under 18 among them – are routinely ignored. Enforcement by the state is nearly non-existent, they claim.

SB 210 would allow another avenue for enforcement, through civil suits.

Pro-life forces have been concerned enough with the friction between certain portions of the Legislature and Georgia Right to Life, the state’s preeminent anti-abortion group, that they have asked former state GOP chairman Rusty Paul to help smooth the way for SB 210.

The …

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Nathan Deal warns against a hasty defunding of health care reform

Every now and then, you and I are allowed a glimpse of reality by the people we elect to high office.

They pull the curtain aside for a few valuable seconds — just long enough for us to be startled.

The surprise doesn’t have to be a lie — and usually isn’t. More often, what we are met with is a situation that is far more nuanced and complicated than the spoon-fed rhetoric that we get from the flat screens in our living rooms.

Take the issue of Republicans and the Obama administration’s health care overhaul. Last fall, “repeal” was the byword among GOP candidates — until it became clear that Democrats would retain control of the Senate.

Then the slogan shifted to “defund.” We will starve the beast into irrelevance, House Republicans vowed.

Last week’s unanimous vote for an outright repeal of health care legislation was understood to be a largely a symbolic gesture to tea partyers.

Afterwards, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia promised that an amendment to defund …

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Georgia, E-Verify, and a U.S. Supreme Court case

Monday’s meeting between Barack Obama and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce provoked much predictable talk about the president’s icy relationship with America’s CEOs.

But if you’re a local member of the GOP, you can’t afford to revel in the estrangement.

Because back home, the marriage between business and Republicans — the driving force of politics in the state Capitol — is likewise edging toward some very perilous rocks.

 State Rep. Matt Ramsey, R- Peachtree City, speaks during a House committee meeting on his bill to require businesses to use E-Verify to screen hires for legal U.S. residency. Brant Sanderlin bsanderlin@ajc.com

State Rep. Matt Ramsey, R- Peachtree City, speaks during a House committee meeting on his bill to require businesses to use E-Verify to screen hires for legal U.S. residency. Brant Sanderlin bsanderlin@ajc.com

In Washington, the health care overhaul and banking regulations have provided the wedge between Obama and the kings of commerce. In Atlanta, the sore spot is illegal immigration.

State lawmakers are more serious about the issue than they have ever been before. And they’re finally turning their focus on the people who do the hiring in Georgia.

There is …

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Roy Barnes on ‘Citizens United’ decision: ‘What a crock’

The State Bar held a series of seminars Friday on the implications of the Citizens United on campaign financing – the famous U.S. Supreme Court decision is now just over a year old.

One of the participants was state Rep. Wendell Willard, R-Sandy Springs, who is chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

Williard made a bit of news when he said it was likely that a) the Legislature would soon consider a measure to restore the rule-making authority of the body once known as the State Ethics Commission; and b) he favored more reliable financing of the agency.

Former Gov. Roy Barnes at a Thursday news conference, defending Cobb EMC's chief on theft and racketeering charges. Vino Wong, vwong@ajc.com

Former Gov. Roy Barnes at a Thursday news conference, defending Cobb EMC’s chief on theft and racketeering charges. Vino Wong, vwong@ajc.com

Stacey Kalberman, executive secretary of the awkwardly renamed Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission, was in the audience. And seemed pleased.

Another participant was former Gov. Roy Barnes, who made light of his November defeat – and said he was done with …

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Saxby Chambliss joins ranks of anti-Kagan votes in Senate

Given his colleague Johnny Isakson’s announcement earlier this month, the following from U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss should come as no surprise:

“Any judge who sits on the nation’s highest court must understand that the correct venue for making policy is the legislative branch. After reviewing Solicitor General Kagan’s record, I remain unconvinced that she will show this requisite judicial restraint.

“Ms. Kagan once criticized the Supreme Court confirmation process as lacking ‘seriousness and substance,’ but when faced with the opportunity to clarify many of her more troubling positions during days of questioning before the Senate Judiciary Committee, she was evasive and unhelpful.

“Her inadequate answers leave me with significant concerns on several issues, including discriminatory actions against military recruiters – in clear violation of federal law – while she was dean of Harvard Law School in protest of the military’s ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy; her hostility toward …

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Johnny Isakson and the GOP phalanx against Elena Kagan

To know one’s surprise, U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson announced Wednesday that he would not vote to confirm Elena Kagan as the next justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Said Isakson:

“I voted against Ms. Kagan’s confirmation as Solicitor General of the United States in 2009 because of her support of a ban on military recruiters at Harvard University. Her lack of appellate or trial experience also concerned me greatly.

“I believe a qualified judge is one who understands the value and the strength and the power of the Constitution of the United States of America, who will rule based on the law, and who will not legislate through activist judicial decisions. I do not believe Ms. Kagan’s record has met this standard.”

Isakson joins seven other of his GOP colleagues who have indicated they won’t vote yes. John McCain, facing a tough primary challenge in Arizona, is another no vote.

Orrin Hatch of Utah, who approved of Kagan for solicitor general, also will vote no. As will the exiting Bob …

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Your morning jolt: The beginnings of a U.S. Senate race in Georgia

Washington has begun to acknowledge the possibility of a U.S. Senate race in Georgia this November. This from Congressional Quarterly:

[A]t least a glimmer of competition has entered the contest because of the April decision by state Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond to enter the race, which followed recruiting entreaties by Democratic officials.

Thurmond is African-American, which could give him particular appeal to a black constituency that makes up more than a quarter of the state’s population. CQ Politics has changed its rating on the race to Likely Republican.

The seat had been designated “safe Republican.” But don’t cry for Isakson. Fund-raising requires a certain amount of dramatic tension.

Over the weekend, Walter Jones of Morris News Service tackled the question of why Republican candidates for governor Karen Handel, Nathan Deal and Eric Johnson have been shooting at each other – and not at John Oxendine, conceded to be the front-runner:

How come? They all want him …

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