On March 6, 1857, the United States Supreme Court published its opinion in Sanford v. Dred Scott.
the Court held that African Americans, whether slave or free, could not be American citizens and therefore had no standing to sue in federal court,and that the federal government had no power to regulate slavery in the federal territories acquired after the creation of the United States. Dred Scott, an African American slave who had been taken by his owners to free states and territories, attempted to sue for his freedom. In a 7–2 decision written by Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, the Court denied Scott’s request and in doing so, ruled an Act of Congress in this case—the Missouri Compromise of 1820 which prohibited slavery north of the parallel 36°30′ north—to be unconstitutional for the second time in its history.
The decision would prove to be an indirect catalyst for the American Civil War and was functionally superseded by the post-war Reconstruction Amendments. It is now widely regarded as the worst decision ever made by the Supreme Court.
One member of the Court that decided Dred Scott was Associate Justice James M Wayne, who was born in Savannah and served in Congress from Georgia from 1829 to 1835.
Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections
Governor Nathan Deal signed House Bill 159 yesterday.
“In this exceptional state in which so many choose to work, learn and create a home, we continue to value the cornerstone of our society: the family,” said Deal. “Today, I signed HB 159 into law, finally bringing much-needed reforms to our adoption laws and making it easier for adoptive parents to create a loving family in our state. This critical and bipartisan bill streamlines the adoption process and updates Georgia’s adoption laws for the 21st century. The work leading up to today has been years in the making, as we last updated these laws when I was in the state Senate, a full generation ago. With the signing of this bill into law, we are giving children, including the 13,500 children in foster care, renewed hope for a forever family.
HB 159 passed the House on Feb. 1 with a vote of 168-0. It passed the Senate on Feb. 5 with a vote of 53-2.
One change reduces the length of time a birth mother has to change her mind and take back custody of a baby from 10 days to four. Another makes it possible for adoptive parents to help a birth mother with certain living expenses in private adoptions.
Under the Gold Dome Today
LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE MEETINGS
8:00 AM House Game, Fish & Parks Sub 403 CAP
9:00 AM SENATE APPROP – Higher Ed Sub 341 CAP
9:15 AM SENATE VETERANS, MILITARY AND HOMELAND SECURITY 307 CLOB
9:30 AM House Ways & Means Ad Valorem Sub 133 CAP
10:00 AM SENATE APPROP – Crim Just and Public Safety Sub 307 CLOB
10:00 AM House Judy (Civil) Fleming Sub 132 CAP
10:00 AM Fleming SubWays & Means Sub Tax Reform 133 CAP
11:00 AM SENATE APPROP – Insurance Sub 341 CAP
1:00 PM SENATE ECONOMIC DEV 125 CAP
1:00 PM SENATE HEALTH AND HUMAN SVCS 450 CAP
1:00 PM HOUSE TRANSPORTATION 415 CLOB
1:00 PM HOUSE HEALTH & HUMAN SVCS 606 CLOB
1:00 PM HOUSE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT 341 CAP
2:00 PM SENATE APPROP – Judicial Sub 341 CAP
2:00 PM SENATE RETIREMENT MEZZ 1
2:00 PM SENATE NATL RES & ENVT 310 CLOB
2:00 PM HOUSE JUDY (CIVIL) 132 CAP
2:00 PM HOUSE REGULATED INDUSTRIES 506 CLOB
2:00 PM HOUSE SPECIAL RULES 515 CLOB
3:00 PM SENATE STATE INSTITUTIONS AND PROPERTIES 125 CAP
3:00 PM SENATE REGULATED INDUSTRIES 450 CAP
3:00 PM House Insurance Admin/Licensing Sub 406 CLOB
3:00 PM HOUSE BANKS & BANKING 341 CAP
4:00 PM SENATE BANKING MEZZ 1
Georgia Court of Appeals Judge Tilman “Tripp” Self III was confirmed as a Judge for the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia by an 85-11 vote of the U.S. Senate.
Congressman Buddy Carter (R-Pooler) hosted a school safety meeting yesterday in Jesup, according to the Brunswick Times.
School leadership from 14 counties, including Glynn, were invited to the meeting. Frederica Academy officials were also invited.
Jim Pulos, assistant superintendent of student achievement for Glynn County Schools, attended the meeting along with Rod Ellis, chief of Glynn County Schools Police.
After the meeting, Carter said his take-aways included a need for more school resource officers as well as a need to make school facilities safer.
Congressman Rick Allen (R-Augusta) faces two Democratic challengers for reelection this fall, according to the Augusta Chronicle.
On the first day of candidate qualifying for the Augusta-area elections, two Democrats – Francys Johnson and Robert Ingham – qualified with the state party to pursue the 12th Congressional District seat held by Rep. Rick Allen, R-Augusta, who also qualified to run for re-election Monday.
Two Democrats and a Republican qualified Monday to challenge 10th Congressional District Rep. Jody Hice, whose district includes part of Columbia County. Hice will face Iraq war veteran and businessman Bradley Griffin in the May 22 Republican primary, while teacher Chalis Montgomery and professor Richard Dien Winfield qualified for the Democratic primary.
In the closely watched race for Columbia County Commission chairperson, all three announced candidates – Commissioner Doug Duncan, builder Mark Herbert and former emergency management director Pam Tucker – each qualified Monday to face off on the May 22 Republican primary ballot.
Also qualifying Monday as Republicans in Columbia County were the two announced candidates for Duncan’s District 1 seat, Hafeez Chaudry and Connie Melear, and Dewey Galeas for the District 4 commission seat. George Bratcher and Andrew Kemp qualified for the nonpartisan District 3 seat on the Columbia County Board of Education.
Former State School Superintendent John Barge qualified to run for his old seat against current incumbent Richard Woods, according to the Rome News-Tribune.
Barge, a Republican, is a Berry College graduate who taught in Rome, Floyd County and Bartow County schools. He was elected to the state position in 2010 and served four years in the top slot. Instead of seeking re-election, he made an unsuccessful challenge to Gov. Nathan Deal in the 2014 Republican primary.
This year, Barge will go up against incumbent State School Superintendent Richard Woods, who he beat in the 2010 primary. Democrat Sid Chapman also qualified Monday to run for the seat.
State House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) qualified for reelection yesterday, according to FetchYourNews.com.
“Serving as House District 7’s voice in the Georgia General Assembly is an honor and responsibility I hold dear,” said Ralston. “Representing the best interests of North Georgia remains my number one priority.
“In the State House, we passed comprehensive tax reform that will empower job creators, spur economic growth, and keep more money in the pockets of Georgia taxpayers. Thanks to President Trump and the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act, we delivered the largest tax cut in modern, Georgia history.
House Majority Leader Jon Burns, (R-Newington) also plans to run for reelection.
State Rep. Earl Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs) will not run for reelection, according to the Bristol Herald Courier.
The Georgia House’s longest-serving Republican is retiring.
News outlets report that Rep. Earl Ehrhart of Powder Springs announced Monday that he will not run for re-election after having served in the House for 30 years.
Ehrhart’s wife, Ginny Ehrhart, says she intends to run to succeed her husband.
Former State Rep. Donna Sheldon (R-Dacula) is running for the House District 105 seat being vacated by State Rep. Joyce Chandler.
“I am excited to announce my candidacy for State House,” said Sheldon. “Joyce Chandler has done a great job serving our area, and with her retirement, it is vital that we have a proven and effective leader step up to deliver for our families.
“During my time in the State House, I had a consistent and proven record of leading on the issues important to our community. I’m ready to do the same again. With the issues we face in regards to education, public safety, healthcare, transportation, and ensuring prosperity for all of our families, we simply cannot afford a radical or ineffective representative.
“In the months ahead, I look forward to earning the trust and support of our community. I would be honored to once again to go to work for them and deliver at the State Capitol. I will not let you down in working to secure a bright and prosperous future for everyone.”
State Rep. Chad Nimmer (R- Blackshear) announced via Facebook that he will not run for reelection.
Macon-Bibb County Commissioner Gary Bechtel qualified to run for the State House District 141 seat being vacated by State Rep. Allen Peake, according to the Macon Telegraph.
“I’ve represented a good portion of House District 141 for about 18 years (including) the school board, and I feel like I have enough knowledge and experience to hit the ground running,” Bechtel said, clutching a folder of papers he’d just received when he registered to run in Atlanta.
So far, three Republicans including Bechtel have signed up to run for the seat. Shane Mobley founded Southern Sleep Technologies, a company that diagnoses and treats sleep disorders. Todd Tolbert is a financial planner.
Gwinnett County Board of Education member Dan Seckinger will not run for reelection, after serving seven terms, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.
Democrat Stacey Abrams campaigned for Governor in Columbus, according to WTVM.
Hall County Commissioners voted to join a national lawsuit against opioid manufacturers, according to AccessWDUN.
“This is part, basically, of a national litigation front of many counties and cities, and states for that matter throughout the country, that have entered into such litigation,” County Attorney Bill Blalock told commissioners at their work session Monday afternoon.
“Assuming you pass the resolution we will be filling a civil lawsuit, probably, the middle to latter part of this week and it will be against certain manufacturers and distributors of opioid drugs,” Blalock added.
Blalock said entering the litigation would not cost the county financially. “It will be on a contingent fee basis. If they don’t recover we don’t pay anything.”
“It needs to be done; it keeps getting worse and worse,” Commission Chairman Richard Higgins commented.
Grovetown City Council member Dr. Deborah Fisher is at odds with the City Attorney over comments by the Mayor, according to the Augusta Chronicle.
Recent comments attributed to Grovetown’s mayor could sink the city into further legal trouble, a Grovetown city councilwoman claimed Sunday.
Grovetown’s city attorney said Monday that Deborah Fisher “lacks a firm grasp” of the case she referred to.
Bulloch County will host at least two contested elections for County Commission and one for Board of Education, according to the Statesboro Herald.