Republican Sen. David Perdue has killed the judicial nomination of a Jewish Republican in DeKalb County who would have been Georgia’s first Latino on the U.S. District Court.
Perdue issued a statement Thursday, Jan. 21, that he would not sign off on Senate Judiciary Committee consideration of State Court Judge Dax Lopez for the federal bench. President Barack Obama nominated Lopez in July.
Lopez, a member of The Temple, was first appointed to the State Court by Gov. Sonny Perdue in 2010.
Anti-Defamation League Southeast Region Director Mark Moskowitz sent letters supporting Lopez to Perdue and his senior colleague, Republican Johnny Isakson, on Jan. 6. Moskowitz called the judge “a smart, compassionate lawyer” who would serve on the federal court “with honor, conscientiousness and distinction.”
“We are deeply troubled that Dax’s nomination … has become controversial,” Moskowitz wrote.
The controversy came from anti-illegal-immigration activists, who lobbied hard against Lopez because he served on the board of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials for several years until resigning after his federal nomination. GALEO as an organization has advocated for changes to the immigration system, for a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants and against mass deportations.
“I have become uncomfortable with his longstanding participation in a controversial organization including his service on its board of directors,” Perdue said in a statement. “I am particularly concerned with his continued participation with this organization and his public comments after he became a state judge. Unfortunately, our personal meeting, while cordial and informative, did not fully alleviate my concerns.”
By custom, the Senate gives a state’s senators veto power over judicial nominations of their constituents. Isakson, a Republican seeking re-election this year, had said Lopez should get a hearing.