Representative Hank Johnson of Georgia’s fourth district, now in his seventh term in the U.S. House of Representatives, is a member of the House Judiciary Committee, the Secretary of the Congressional Black Caucus, and a former criminal defense attorney, judge, and country commissioner. He authored the Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act, a part of the historic George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which was the Congressional Black Caucus’s response to police and vigilante violence against African Americans across the country.
The discussion will be opened by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Professor of Sociology and African-American Studies Dr. Cheryl Townsend Gilkes and moderated by Goldfarb Center Executive Director Kimberly Flowers, Halle Carroll ’23, and Reagan Dennis ’23. We will be taking live questions from the audience.
Now completing his seventh term in the U.S. House of Representatives from Georgia’s Fourth Congressional District – which encompasses parts of DeKalb, Gwinnett and Newton counties and all of Rockdale County – Congressman Hank Johnson has distinguished himself as a substantive, effective lawmaker and a leading national progressive voice.
Named one of the most effective Democrats in Congress by a University of Virginia and University of Vanderbilt study, Rep. Johnson has proven his ability to get things done.
From his seat on the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Johnson has introduced, co-sponsored and passed legislation to level the playing field for everyday Americans. His bills that protect consumers and citizens’ civil liberties include the FAIR Act and the Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act (SMLEA). SMLEA is part of the historic George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which was the Congressional Black Caucus’s response to police and vigilante violence against African Americans across the country.
As a champion for digital inclusion and an open Internet, Rep. Johnson has pushed to empower low-income and minority communities through digital rights, broadband access, and equality of opportunity online as ranking member of the subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law (RRCAL).
In 2019, Rep. Johnson was elected by his peers to lead the Judiciary Subcommittee – Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet. The subcommittee has jurisdiction over administration of U.S. Courts, federal rules of evidence, civil and appellate procedure, judicial ethics, patent, copyright and trademark law, information technology and the Internet.
In 2017 at the launch of the 115th Congress, Rep. Johnson landed a coveted seat on the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee (T&I).
As a former member of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Johnson became a leading national voice for the demilitarization of local law enforcement agencies in 2014 after police donned camouflage tactical gear and climbed aboard heavily armored vehicles to confront peaceful protestors in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, in the aftermath of the shooting death of an unarmed teenager. To help restore trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve, he filed the Police Accountability Act and the Grand Jury Reform Act in the wake of police shooting deaths of unarmed black men across the country.
In 2010, Rep. Johnson was a member of the prosecution team in the impeachment trial of New Orleans U.S. District Judge G. Thomas Porteous Jr., resulting in the first impeachment and conviction of a federal judge in more than two decades. In 2016, Rep. Johnson earned an honorary doctorate from his beloved alma mater Clark Atlanta University.
Prior to taking his seat in Congress in 2006, Rep. Johnson practiced criminal defense law in Georgia for twenty-seven (27) years. He served twelve (12) years as a magistrate judge, and five (5) years as a county commissioner.
Rep. Johnson is married to DeKalb County Commissioner Mereda Davis Johnson and has two adult children.