May 20, 2014 — In what could be a "fatal blow" in a troubled confirmation process, Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) on Monday said he opposes federal district court nominee Michael Boggs, Roll Call's "#WGDB" reports. Lewis is a noted civil rights leader from Boggs' home state (Sanchez, "#WGDB," Roll Call, 5/19).
President Obama nominated Boggs, a Georgia appeals judge and former state legislator, to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia (Douglas, McClatchy/Miami Herald, 5/19).
Last week, Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee questioned Boggs sharply about his support for antiabortion-rights legislation during his time as a state legislator from 2000 to 2004. Democrats and progressive groups have also raised concern about Boggs' support for displaying the Confederate flag and opposition to same-sex marriage.
NARAL Pro-Choice America is leading a coalition of groups that oppose his nomination based on his record (Women's Health Policy Report, 5/15).
Lewis, a leader in the Congressional Black Caucus, on Monday said that he does "not support the confirmation of Michael Boggs to the federal bench," adding that Boggs' record "is in direct opposition to everything I have stood for during my career, and his misrepresentation of that record to the [Senate Judiciary Committee] is even more troubling" (French, Politico, 5/19).
Lewis, the only living speaker from the 1963 March on Washington, noted that he has "worked tirelessly to rid Georgia, the South and this nation from the stain of racial discrimination in any form, including the display of [a] Confederate emblem in the Georgia state flag" (McClatchy/Miami Herald, 5/19).
Lewis added, "The testimony suggests Boggs may allow his personal political leanings to influence his impartiality on the bench."
According to "#WGDB," the opinion of a House member on a judicial nominee would typically hold little sway in the confirmation process ("#WGDB," Roll Call, 5/19). However, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Majority Whip Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) have both indicated that they would seek Lewis' advice before voting.
Lewis made his opinion public on Monday to counter reports that he had told senators in private conversations to support Boggs (Politico, 5/19).