The Georgia case that could hamper a Trump Supreme Court contender
Our AJC colleague Bill Rankin dropped a terrific story over the weekend that detailed how Bill Pryor, a federal appeals court judge in Atlanta has faced unexpected resistance from social conservatives that may have reduced him from a front-runner to land on Donald Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court to a member of the pack.
Trump will unveil his nominee on Tuesday at 8 p.m.
One of the most-cited causes for the objections to Pryor is his decision in the case of a one-time Georgia General Assembly staffer. Here’s a bit more from Rankin’s story:
The decision mentioned most often is the case of Vandy Beth Glenn, who was fired as an editor and proofreader for the Georgia General Assembly in 2007 after she said she was going to make the transition from man to woman. Pryor joined the ruling authored by Judge Rosemary Barkett, a liberal jurist who is no longer on the court.
“An individual cannot be punished because of his or her perceived gender-nonconformity, ” said the opinion, citing a precedent set by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1989. “Because these protections are afforded to everyone, they cannot be denied to a transgender individual.”
Nine weeks after Georgia Congressman Tom Price was first nominated to run the Department of Health and Human Services, a group of senators will cast an initial vote on whether to elevate him to the Cabinet-level post.
The 26-member Senate Finance Committee will vote on the Roswell Republican’s nomination tomorrow morning, a week after the panel grilled Price for four hours.
At the moment, the seven-term appears to have enough support to be confirmed. The real question is when it will happen.
It’s entirely possible the full Senate could give Price the green light by the end of the week.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could try to tee up a confirmation vote as soon as Tuesday afternoon, but that’s not likely since there are other, more bipartisan Cabinet nominees that are in line for a vote, including Rex Tillerson for secretary of state and Elain Chao for transportation secretary. Democrats are also likely to draw out the consideration process for Price’s nomination by a day or two.
Johns Creek councilman Bob Gray is joining the race to replace Rep. Tom Price.
The business executive is running as a “willing partner” with Donald Trump to represent the suburban Atlanta district, which stretches from east Cobb through north Fulton to north DeKalb.
“While the political elite is obsessed with serving their own interests, the American people are ready for business leaders who can deliver results in Washington,” he said in a statement. “After being blessed with three decades of success in the private sector, I’m ready to serve my country and community in Congress.”
Several Democrats are already in the race for the conservative-leaning district, including former Congressional aide Jon Ossoff and two ex-lawmakers.
The Republican side has been slower to form, as candidates wait for Price’s confirmation vote to be Trump’s health secretary.
State Sen. Judson Hill is already in the contest. So is Mohammad Bhuiyan, a businessman who aims to be the first Muslim Republican in the U.S. House. And former Secretary of State Karen Handel, state Rep. Betty Price, former state Sen. Dan Moody and Bruce Levell, who headed Trump’s diversity coalition, all are scouting bids.
It’s not often that an invite to a sitting lawmaker’s fundraising bash smack in the middle of the legislative session lands in your inbox. After all, state law bans legislators from raising campaign cash during the 40-day period.
But state Sen. Judson Hill’s Tuesday fundraiser – the Marietta Republican seeks to replace Rep. Tom Price – is kosher thanks to a 1996 court case involving one-time lawmaker Doug Teper. In that ruling, a federal appeals court ruled that state fundraising laws cannot supersede federal rules.
And thus, we have a full-blown fundraiser at the Atlanta Country Club featuring a current lawmakers in the middle of the session.
Judson Hill, we should add, picked up a second major endorsement on Monday.
On the heels of earning Newt Gingrich’s support, he also now has the backing of the conservative Family Research Council Action PAC.
“In this time of opportunity our nation has made it clear it is looking for leaders who are committed to addressing important issues head-on,” said Jerry Boykin, the group’s executive vice president. “We have evaluated Sen. Hill’s record as a leader and state senator serving the people of Georgia and have found his support for bold conservative solutions to be both consistent and persistent.”
Georgia lawmakers may have come up empty-handed in their quest to create the state’s first national park in 2016, but many of those same proposals are being recycled in the new year.
The House is scheduled to vote on two bills later today that will boost federal protections for historic sites at Ocmulgee National Monument and Kennesaw Mountain park. The Senate still needs to sign off on both proposals before they can head to the president’s desk.