A statue of Clarence Thomas in support of Republicans in Georgia

A statue of Clarence Thomas in support of Republicans in Georgia

ATLANTA (AP) – Republican Georgia lawmakers are once again trying to place a statue of U.S. Supreme Court Justice and Georgia native Clarence Thomas on the state Capitol grounds in Atlanta, in what many Democrats, especially blacks, see as a sensitive display of partisan power. .

The Georgia state Senate voted 32-20 along party lines Tuesday to mandate a statue of the Pin Point, Georgia native. Minority Democrats proposed amending the measure to mandate a statue of the late Georgia congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis, but then withdrew the amendment.

Senate Bill 69 The state moves to the House for further debate.

Sen. Ben Watson, a Savannah Republican, said he represents Thomas’ hometown near the coastal city and knew Thomas’ mother.

“This native son of Georgia deserves an honor and recognition on our Capitol grounds, a place where future generations of Georgians can learn valuable lessons from his legacy and gain inspiration and faith that their lofty dreams can be found in America, regardless of the circumstances into which they were born.” ” Watson told the senators.

Democrats, however, backed down. They cited not only Thomas’ confirmation in court but also Thomas’ ruling in the Supreme Court in 1991 of Anita Hill’s testimony that he had sexually assaulted her.

“His service is problematic,” said Sen. Nan Ork of Atlanta. “There is a cloud over his ministry … and that cloud continues to this day.”

Republicans counter that there is a statue of former Democratic governor and President Jimmy Carter on the Georgia Capitol grounds.

“There are citizens, perhaps members of this body, who have a problem with the policies of the governor or the president, but we respect the history,” said Sen. Jason Anavitarte, Republican of Dallas.

The controversy came on the same day that Republican senators also pushed through a resolution honoring former U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who was defeated by Democrat Raphael Warnock in 2020, giving his party the Senate majority. As part of the Republicans’ continued political activism, Loeffler led an effort last year to elect Republicans to the state Senate, where they now hold a 33-23 majority.

Opponents of the statue pointed to Thomas’ concurring opinion last year in overturning the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that established nationwide access to abortion. In that opinion, he urged his fellow justices to reconsider other Supreme Court precedents validating same-sex marriage and access to contraception.

Sen. Emanuel Jones, a Decatur Democrat who is black, called Thomas “Uncle Tom,” the justice like someone who “sold his soul to the slave master.”

“There’s a whole laundry list of positions that Justice Thomas has taken that I find outrageous,” Jones said. “Sometimes, when I talk to the majority team, I say, ‘You all don’t get it.’

Democrats have also criticized Thomas’ wife, Virginia “Ginny” Thomas, noting records show she texted then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows after the 2020 election, urging him to stand with then-President Donald Trump as he falsely claimed there was widespread fraud. has been In the election

Ginny Thomas later told a House committee on Jan. 6 that she regretted the text and told investigators that her activity after the election was minimal. But Georgia Democrats said Tuesday they still aren’t convinced Ginny Thomas is innocent.

“His wife actually encouraged this coup of violence in an attempt to stop a peaceful transfer of power for the first time in our country’s history,” said Sen. Nikki Merritt, a Lawrenceville Democrat.

Republicans passed a measure authorizing the Clarence Thomas statue in the state Senate last year, but it never came to a vote in the state House. This year’s bill calls for the statue to be paid for with private money.

Democrats proposed an amendment to the bill to mandate a statue of Lewis, but withdrew the proposal before it could be voted on. If Republicans had voted for the amendment, Democrats would have been forced to vote either for Thomas Murty or against Lewis Murty.


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