DeKalb State Court Judge Dax Lopez’s nomination to the federal bench is being held up, according to Daniel Malloy in the AJC, because US Senator David Perdue, who sits on the Judiciary Committee, believes that the opinions of convicted felon DA King and professional huckster Phil Kent carry more weight than those of genuine, long-time conservatives. Lopez, by all accounts a sharp attorney with a fine legal mind, once sat on the Board of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials, an organization that doesn’t support rounding up all illegal immigrants and sending them home.
While GALEO has opposed immigration restrictions and advocated for a path to citizenship, Lopez “abstained from GALEO’s policy votes and fundraising,” and resigned entirely once he was nominated to the federal bench.
From Malloy: “The judge is a Republican and a member of the conservative Federalist Society. He volunteered for Bob Barr’s successful run for Congress as a Republican in 1994. Lopez was first appointed to the Georgia bench by David Perdue’s cousin. (That would be Governor Sonny Perdue, a Republican.) And the counsel for Perdue’s Senate campaign, Josh Belinfante, served on the panel convened by the senators to vet potential nominees that sent Lopez’s name to the White House.”
That sounds like exactly the kind of conservative an organization like GALEO needs to be effective or credible. They should recruit a dozen more like Judge Lopez to their board. But GALEO isn’t Lopez. And Lopez ain’t GALEO.
Dax Lopez was born in Puerto Rico, grew up in Cobb County and graduated fourth in his class at McEachern High school in Powder Springs. He graduated from Vanderbilt and Vanderbilt Law School, where he served as president of the Vanderbilt Bar Association and as an editor on a legal journal. He clerked for a federal judge appointed by Ronald Reagan.
He’s earned the respect of fellow conservative lawyers such as Frank Strickland, Ann Lewis, Ed Lindsey, and Robert Highsmith, among other conservative Georgians who signed this letter supporting his nomination, noting: “As conservatives, we recognize that the constitutional obligation of a judge is to decide cases based on the text of the law and not policy preferences. We know that Judge Lopez views the law the same way, and he would be a great asset to the court.”
The fact is, Lopez would be a great asset to the federal court. He’s exactly the kind of conservative Georgians should want to become federal judges.
If the Republican party has any future at all, it has to become better at persuading voters who aren’t old, white and angry to vote for their candidates. Playing political games with the nomination of a respected judge, accomplished attorney and genuine conservative begins to look a lot like bigotry. And if conservativism is to survive as a movement, we will need elected officials to understand that cash and carry conservatives who gin up and then exploit issues for ratings, clicks and consulting fees aren’t in it for the good of the party, the movement -or even the elected officials who would do their bidding.