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Congressman tells Forsyth audience president should nominate next justice
Woodall - photo by Kelly Whitmire

CUMMING — In a break from some of his colleagues in Washington, the congressman who represents south Forsyth says the nomination of the next U.S. Supreme Court justice should be made this year, not after the presidential election.

“A lot of folks ran right out and said, ‘Over my dead body, I don’t want any action to take place on Supreme Court nominees in 2016.’ I’m not in that camp,” said U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall, whose 7th District also includes part of Gwinnett County.

“I’m in the constitutional camp that says the president’s job is to name nominees and senate’s job is to have hearings on those nominees. I worry that we have gotten so focused on the politics that we missed out on the constitutional responsibilities that underlie those political decisions, those ideological decisions.”

The issue arose last week after the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Woodall said he had actually had breakfast with Scalia in recent weeks, and he hopes President Barack Obama picks someone close to the middle.

Woodall’s remarks came during a town hall meeting at the National Guard Regional Readiness Center in Cumming, during which he also touched on several other national issues and took questions from the crowd.

In response to a query on government spending, Woodall said he expected and understood the anger over the issue, but he and other conservatives had to support a budget that Obama would ultimately pass.

“I say to you, ‘Thank you for being upset about it.’ I say that to you sincerely,” Woodall said. “Because if the president didn’t know how passionate folks are in Forsyth County, he wouldn’t have negotiated with me on this.

“If you’re not mad, if you’re not planting your heels in the sand and saying we will not do this to our children and grandchildren, I can’t win these issues on your back. But we are winning.”

Other topics covered included national security, Medicare and Medicaid and what he felt constituted presidential overreach.

Terry Whitworth said the town hall was the first he had attended and appreciated Woodall responding to his question about the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

“Mine was a particular avenue, the only reason I came. I didn’t come here for any of this budget stuff. [I came to ask about] V.A. records,” Whitworth said. “His assistant … she’s been good, but I thought I’d come and put another bug in his ear.”

Attendee Eddie Fite said he particularly liked the congressman’s take on spending and national security.

“I think he did a really good job explaining some of the thoughts he had,” Fite said.