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Senate Leader Reid Doubtful of Controversial Judicial Pick

Senate Leader Reid Doubtful of Controversial Judicial Pick

May 15, 2014 — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Wednesday expressed opposition to confirming Michael Boggs -- a Georgia judge nominated by President Obama to serve on a federal district court -- because of Boggs' record on abortion rights, civil rights and gay rights, the Washington Post's "Post Politics" reports (O'Keefe, "Post Politics," Washington Post, 5/14).

The Senate Judiciary Committee is considering whether to send Boggs' nomination, along with six other Georgia judicial nominees, to the Senate floor. During a hearing on Tuesday, Democrats on the committee questioned Boggs sharply about his support for antiabortion-rights legislation during his time as a state legislator from 2000 to 2004 (Women's Health Policy Report, 5/14). Democrats and progressive groups have also raised concern about Boggs' support for displaying the Confederate flag and opposition to same-sex marriage (Nocera, BuzzFeed, 5/14).

NARAL Pro-Choice America is leading a coalition of groups that oppose his nomination based on his record (Women's Health Policy Report, 5/14).

Reid's Remarks

Reid said he "can't vote" to confirm Boggs without "some explanations on why he did that deal with the [Confederate] flag and things he's said about abortion." At Tuesday's hearing, Boggs declined to comment on his personal views but said he makes objective decisions as a judge (BuzzFeed, 5/14).

Reid noted that the federal judgeship "is a lifetime appointment," adding that Boggs has "said some things and made some decisions I think are not very good" ("Post Politics," Washington Post, 5/14). Reid said he has not spoken to Senate Judiciary Chair Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) about Boggs but plans to do so.

Meanwhile, White House press secretary Jay Carney on Wednesday said that Obama believes "each senator should vote as he sees fit," but that the president disagrees "with anyone ... who believes Boggs is not qualified for this post" (BuzzFeed, 5/14).