Left-wing groups, typically the core of the White House’s support, are loudly objecting to President Barack Obama’s nomination of a conservative Southern Democrat to a federal judgeship.
A coalition of 27 groups sent a letter Thursday to Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee demanding that it halt the nomination of Michael Boggs to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, citing his stances on abortion and gay rights.
“During his time as a legislator in the Georgia general assembly, Boggs demonstrated a troubling lack of concern for individuals whose experience and personal history differ from his own, creating a record that lacks a demonstrated commitment to fairness and equal justice with respect to issues of reproductive freedom, civil rights, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) equality,” said the letter, signed by organizations including NARAL Pro-Choice America, Color of Change, Democracy for America, Human Rights Campaign, MoveOn.org, National Organization of Women and Planned Parenthood.
The letter was addressed only to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahey (D-Vt.) and the nine other Democrats on the Judiciary Committee.
“Boggs cosponsored legislation that would have created a ‘Choose Life’ license-plate program to channel funds to anti-choice organizations, including fake clinics that intentionally misinform and mislead women,” the letter stated. “He also pushed legislation that would have made more severe Georgia’s parental-involvement law, which already required parental notice prior to a young woman obtaining abortion care, and was so extreme that it did not include an exception for cases of rape or incest, or an adequate exception to protect a woman’s health.”
The letter said Boggs “voted to keep the Confederate battle emblem—a powerful symbol of oppression and intolerance—on Georgia’s state flag over the vocal objection of the state’s civil rights community.”
Obama nominated Boggs on Dec. 19, 2013.
Boggs has been on the Georgia state Court of Appeals since January 2012. Prior to that, he served as a state superior court judge beginning in 2004, and presided over the court’s felony drug court program, according to the White House. Boggs was elected as a Democrat to the Georgia House of Representatives in 2000.
Most of the opposition to Obama’s judicial nominees has come from Republicans. Earlier this year, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) changed the filibuster rule to make it easier to confirm liberal judges.
Still, it’s rare for judicial nomination fights erupt over federal district judge nominees. The bulk of fights are over appeals court nominees and, most visibly, over openings on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Obama nominated Boggs as part of a compromise with Georgia Republican Sens. Saxby Chamblish and Johnny Isakson, Politico reported.
White House aides told Politico that the liberal groups are focusing only on Boggs time in the state legislature, while his record as a judge has been more progressive.