Georgia Congressman Hank Johnson (D) represents a cross section of voters in the diverse 4th Congressional district. He has held office since 2007 and sits on the US Judiciary Committee on Armed Services and the Committee of the Judiciary. He has been a stalwart supporter of issues that have affected the economically disenfranchised as well as many societal issues.
Rolling out spoke with Congressman Johnson on the power of the Black Presidency and the death of Antonin Scalia.
With the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, President Barack Obama once again gets to exercise his Constitutional power. But there are those among the Republican Party opposing such action. The House Judiciary Committee, on which you are a member, Chairman Bob GoodLatte stated that Obama should not appoint a Justice because he is at the end of his presidential term. When it comes to using his Presidential power, why is Obama being treated like 3/5 a president?
That’s a historical dilemma African-Americans have faced in this country from day one. We were indeed considered under the Constitution as 3/5 of a person, even though the Constitution has been amended to negate or delete this compromise. Even with the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution, that has not changed some people’s mindset. So, there’s no doubt that Barack Obama being the first African-American president has been dealt with that mentality by people who hold powerful positions. So, the legacy of racism continues and when it is mixed with politics and power it becomes too irresistible for some people to resist those psychological impulses. But President Obama, fully aware of history, fully aware of his position and his power, has been able to cut through this opposition on almost a spiritual realm. I’m sure that there have been calls for him to “go to the back of the bus.” They want him as president to sit on the power that he has until somebody else can takeover. However, I am sure that he will not do that and will continue to disappoint his enemies. He will do what is Constitutionally required of him, which is to bring forth a nominee to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court caused by the providential demise of Antonin Scalia. I am in favor of Obama making an appointment.
Are there any names that come to mind that you would like to see replace Scalia on the Supreme Court?
I haven’t gone so far as to ponder names. I will tell you that I think that the President will nominate someone who is well qualified to assume that position. I’m hopeful that it will be an African-American.