Supreme Court Associate Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee in the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018. (Christy Bowe/Globe Photos/Zuma Press/TNS)
Photo: Christy Bowe/Globe Photos/TNS
Photo: Christy Bowe/Globe Photos/TNS

The Jolt: Hank Johnson seeks papers kept out of sight during Brett Kavanaugh hearing

As Brett Kavanaugh’s Senate confirmation fight reached a crescendo last year, U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson suggested that he intended to do his own digging into the U.S. Supreme Court pick’s background.

The Lithonia Democrat followed up on that Monday, penning a request to the National Archives for records from Kavanaugh’s five years in the White House Counsel’s Office under President George W. Bush -- papers that were largely kept under wraps during the 2018 confirmation fight.

"In the coming year, the Supreme Court will again address important matters regarding civil rights, criminal justice, and immigration," Johnson wrote with House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler of New York. "Now and as always, the Court’s fidelity to the principles of equal and impartial justice, as well as the public’s faith in the integrity of the judiciary, are foundational to maintaining the rule of law."

Johnson has some jurisdiction here. He’s one of Nadler’s top deputies, leading the subcommittee with oversight over the judiciary branch. The panel recently began weighing whether to create a code of conduct for Supreme Court justices. 

U.S. Rep. Doug Collins of Gainesville, the top Republican on the Committee, condemned the move. “Judiciary Democrats failed in their attempt to relitigate the Mueller investigation, so now they’re pivoting to attack a sitting Supreme Court Justice by reinvestigating issues examined during his Senate confirmation,” Collins said via press release.

But note that, in his remarks, Collins didn’t pick a fight with a fellow Georgian.

He addressed himself to Nadler. As in: “Chairman Nadler’s request is so far outside the scope of judicial ethics, it’s harassment.”

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Former Georgia congressman Bob Barr has a column at Townhall.com that includes these paragraphs on the El Paso and Dayton gun massacres:

It should not have to be said, but it does -- there is absolutely no place for white nationalism or racism of any kind within the conservative movement or the Republican Party at any level.

For too long the GOP has turned a blind eye to the troubling resurgence of this odious movement; perhaps hoping that by not drawing attention to it, it would quietly go away. We see now that is not the case.

Even though race-motivated mass violence is still a statistical rarity in spite of the headlines it grabs, the cohorts of individuals responsible for the radicalization of the killers like those in Charleston, Gilroy, and now El Paso, continue to spread. Worse still, while these individuals may loath the current GOP and even Trump, through their warped lenses they may see the Republican Party as the vehicle by which to hitch a ride to a more prominent role in society.  

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Students Demand Action North Metro Atlanta will hold a candlelight vigil honoring the victims of the El Paso and Dayton shootings at 8:30 p.m. today at JJ Biello Park at 175 Brooke Boulevard in Woodstock.

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Over at Georgia Health News, Andy Miller highlights a recent analysis of hospital pricing that “shows Georgia in the top third among 25 states studied.”

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The Augusta Chronicle says a federal grand jury is conducting an investigation “of unknown scope” into city of Augusta activities.

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We’ve neglected to inform you that former state House member Joe Wilkinson, once of Sandy Springs, has been named by Gov. Brian Kemp to chair the Jekyll Island State Park Authority for the next year.

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But back to Washington: The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s internal watchdog determined that Secretary Sonny Perdue may have run afoul of a 2018 federal spending law when he decided to move two of his department’s branches from D.C. to Kansas City without first obtaining congressional approval.

However, the USDA Office of Inspector General report did find that Perdue does ultimately have the authority to move the agencies, which employ hundreds of federal workers.

Congressional Democrats, scientific groups and employees of the two agencies - the National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the Economic Research Service - have sought to stymie the move, which they’ve warned will lead to a brain drain and harm federally-funded scientific research.

It’s already prompted a mass exodus of employees unwilling to make the move. Still, Perdue has moved forward with the relocation, saying it would save the government money and bring USDA closer to the farmers it serves. 

“Since the inspector general affirms the department has the legal authority and we do not agree with the unconstitutional budgetary provision, this case is closed,” USDA said Tuesday.

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An even bigger issue on Sonny Perdue’s plate is trade. China has announced that its companies would stop purchasing U.S. agricultural goods in retaliation for the Trump administration’s move to label the country a currency manipulator.

Georgia farmer Zippy Duvall, the head of the American Farm Bureau Federation, described China’s move as a “body blow” to American farmers. That certainly holds true for Georgia, which relies on China as its No. 1 trading partner. Among the state’s top exports: cotton, poultry and wood pulp. 

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White House hopeful Cory Booker is headed back to Atlanta next week for a “grassroots happy hour” at The Gathering Spot. Tickets for the Aug. 16 event start at $15 a pop. The New Jersey Democrat called on Gov. Brian Kemp to launch an investigation into his election victory over Democrat Stacey Abrams during his last visit in April.

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