To steal a line from Instapundit, they told me that if I voted for Mitt Romney, I’d get federal judges who opposed abortion, same-sex marriage, and who’d be waving Confederate flags. And they’d be right! A justice on a Georgia appellate court ran into a buzzsaw of Democratic criticism in the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday, with Democrats like Dianne Feinstein and Al Franken signaling opposition to Michael Boggs’ confirmation:
Democratic senators opposed to one of President Obama’s nominees to serve on a federal court in Georgia sharply questioned the pick Tuesday about his previous statements, votes and court decisions related to abortion rights, gay rights and civil rights.
Michael Boggs is a Georgia state judge tapped by Obama to serve on a U.S. district court in Georgia. The White House has stood by Boggs despite strong opposition from a handful of Democratic senators, members of the Congressional Black Caucus, civil rights leaders, NARAL Pro-Choice America and gay rights groups.
Boggs has served as a state appeals court judge since 2012 and previously served as a state superior court judge. As a state senator from 2000 to 2004, Boggs, a conservative Democrat, supported keeping the Confederate emblem on the Georgia state flag; supported establishing a “Choice Life” license plate that helped fund antiabortion groups; opposed same-sex marriage; and supported a law that would require parents to accompany their daughters to abortion clinics if the daughter is younger than 18.
Boggs’ nomination came from a joint effort between the White House and the two Senators from Georgia, both Republicans, who praised White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler for her “fair” approach to nominations. Fairness isn’t really the issue, though, so much as research. Boggs voted twice to keep the Confederate flag as the state flag of Georgia while in the legislature, which may sell well in Georgia but hardly plays well in Washington DC. When pressed on that issue, Boggs claimed that he’d changed his position, and hinted he’d also done so on same-sex marriage, but that’s hardly a confidence-builder for Democrats on the committee who have to defend this vote to their own home-state voters.
CNN’s John King and his panel noted the disconnect today. Bloomberg’s Julianna Goldman calls it emblematic of Barack Obama’s relationship with his progressive base:
It looks more emblematic of the mail-it-in presidency. All of these issues should have been vetted with the Democrats on Judiciary long before Boggs’ appearance yesterday. Franken accused Boggs of lying about his record in an open hearing, which indicates that the White House didn’t bother with laying groundwork for a nominee they had to know would be problematic … if they’d vetted him at all. Given the record of this administration on research and vetting, I’m guessing they stopped looking at Boggs once they saw he was a Democrat.
The White House told Goldman that they expect the Republicans to line up behind Boggs, and only need a couple of Democrats. We’ll see how anxious the GOP is to rescue Obama from his own embarrassment.