Senators exert ‘silent veto’ over potential judges

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(NNPA)—President Obama’s recent nominations of federal judges in Georgia—including one who supported regressive voters ID laws and another who favored retaining the confederate emblem as part of the state flag—highlights a failed system that effectively allows home-state U.S. senators to veto presidential judicial selections.

To his credit, Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., and other civil rights leaders are pushing back on a deal struck by President Obama to get three of his judicial appointees approved in exchange for the objectionable Republicans backed by Georgia’s two GOP senators being included in the package.

“The group cites serious concerns that the proposed candidates do not adequately reflect the diversity of the northern district and that the selection process lacked meaningful community input,” Lewis said in a statement. “Additionally, the coalition finds it troubling that several nominees include persons who have advocated in favor of Georgia’s voter ID laws and for including the Confederate Battle Emblem as part of the Georgia State Flag.”

Under a plan approved by President Obama, vacancies on the Atlanta-based 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers cases on appeal from Georgia, Alabama and Florida, would be filled by U.S. District Court Chief Judge Julie Carnes, who was appointed to the bench in 1991 by President George H.W. Bush, and Jill Pryor, a past president of the Georgia Association for Women Lawyers.

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