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Judicial Nominee Boggs Prodded Over Antiabortion-Rights Stance

Judicial Nominee Boggs Prodded Over Antiabortion-Rights Stance

May 14, 2014 — Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats on Tuesday "sharply questioned" Michael Boggs -- a Georgia judge nominated by President Obama to serve on a federal district court -- about his record on abortion rights and other issues, the Washington Post reports.

Boggs has been a state appeals court judge since 2012 and previously served as a state superior court judge and a state legislator (O'Keefe, Washington Post, 5/13). The Judiciary Committee is considering whether to send Boggs' nomination, along with six other Georgia judicial nominees, to the Senate floor (Sanchez, "#WGDB," Roll Call, 5/13).

Senate Hearing

According to the Post, Democrats on the committee prodded Boggs on votes he made as a state legislator from 2000 to 2004 (Washington Post, 5/13).

During that time, Boggs supported a license plate program that directed funds to antiabortion-rights groups and a requirement that minors be accompanied by a parent with a photo ID to have an abortion, while opposing same-sex marriage and an effort to remove a Confederate emblem from the state flag (Women's Health Policy Report, 2/20). Boggs also supported a proposal that would have disclosed how many abortion procedures providers perform (Washington Post, 5/13). NARAL Pro-Choice America is leading a coalition of groups that oppose his nomination based on his record (Women's Health Policy Report, 2/20).

In response to questioning by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Boggs said he has presided over only one case involving abortion issues while serving as a state judge, adding that it "would be inappropriate" for his personal views to affect his judicial decisions. "I think that the best evidence ... is the record of the type of judge I have been," Boggs said (Washington Post, 5/13).

Boggs declined to specify his personal view on reproductive rights or same-sex marriage, saying that they are irrelevant to his responsibilities as a judge because he would make decisions based on precedent, not personal opinions ("#WGDB," Roll Call, 5/13).

However, when asked about the abortion provider bill, he said, "In light of what I subsequently learned, I don't think it would be appropriate to" support the measure (Washington Post, 5/13).

Vote

According to "#WGDB," Democrats on the panel are still deciding whether to support Boggs' nomination. Blumenthal and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) both expressed hesitation on Tuesday ("#WGDB," Roll Call, 5/13).

However, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said that Boggs likely will be confirmed because it "is something the White House really wants."

Meanwhile, NARAL reiterated its opposition to Boggs, saying, "It was clear during the hearing that Boggs' record is deeply concerning and his testimony did nothing to allay those concerns" (Washington Post, 5/13).