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Obama assailed by Atlanta civil rights leaders

7:45 PM, Dec 23, 2013   |    comments
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Rev. Joseph Lowery speaks against Pres. Obama's judicial nominees

ATLANTA -- The rhetoric was, at times, incendiary. "Racial discrimination," Rev. Joseph Lowery growled from the pulpit at Ebenezer Baptist Church. "White supremacy."

The target was the White House, a place famously occupied by an African American.

"The president of the United States and the White House have made a terrible, tragic mistake," said Rep. David Scott (D-Georgia).

And the speakers, like Dr. Lowery, couldn't be bigger fans of President Barack Obama -- but not his nominees for federal district court judgeships in north Georgia. Three of the four nominees are white men. Critics say they all have Republican ties.

"It doesn't reflect Georgia. Georgia is not a totally Republican state," said Scott.

RELATED: President nominates four to Georgia bench

Georgia Court of Appeals judge Michael Boggs was the biggest target. Nominated by the president, the former state representative voted to keep the confederate emblem in the state flag, according to his critics. They say he also cast votes against abortion rights and marriage equality.

Dr. Lowery delivered the benediction during President Obama's first inauguration -- and received the presidential medal of freedom a few months later. "I think they overlooked how explosive the issue is in Georgia," Lowery, age 92, said. "And I think they now regret that they didn't give it closer attention." Lowery said he based that observation on a conversation he had in October with Attorney General Eric Holder.

The nominations came after Republican senators Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss blocked previous attempts by the president to nominate Democrats to the bench. In a joint statement, Chambliss and Isakson said "this is a well-qualified group of nominees."

The list of nominees includes one African American, DeKalb County state court judge Eleanor Louise Ross, who was appointed to the position by Republican Gov. Nathan Deal.

"They want their Republican people. And we want some people that share our views," said Rep. John Lewis (D-Georgia).

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