Anti-Choice Judicial Nominee Michael Boggs ‘Doesn’t Have the Votes’ (Updated)

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Anti-Choice Judicial Nominee Michael Boggs ‘Doesn’t Have the Votes’ (Updated)

Emily Crockett

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) told the New York Times’ political blog First Draft that Boggs “doesn’t have the votes” to overcome opposition from Democrats on the committee, and that he should withdraw.

UPDATE, September 22, 4:02 p.m.: The White House is standing by Boggs as a nominee and has no plans to ask him to withdraw, despite Leahy’s assertion that Boggs won’t have the votes to be confirmed. White House spokseman Josh Earnest said that “the president believes that Judge Boggs has the qualifications to serve in this role.” Boggs’ nomination will expire at the end of this year, and it’s unclear whether Obama will decide to renominate him after that.

Read more of our coverage on controversial judicial nominee Michael Boggs here.

The controversial nomination of anti-choice candidate Michael Boggs to the federal bench in Georgia has likely met its end.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) told the New York Times’ political blog First Draft that Boggs “doesn’t have the votes” to overcome opposition from Democrats on the committee, and that he should withdraw.

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Boggs’ nomination stalled in June when the nominations of six other candidates went forward while his didn’t, but he was not withdrawn from consideration at that time.

Boggs became notorious for supporting a Confederate symbol on Georgia’s state flag and a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

He also got attention for his numerous extreme anti-choice votes. NARAL Pro-Choice America waged an intense campaign against his nomination for bills he had supported as a state legislator, including one that made it much more difficult for minors to obtain an abortion by requiring a parent to accompany them with a photo ID, and one that would have published the names of abortion doctors online.

The latter bill caused Boggs considerable trouble in his confirmation hearing.

Under incredulous questioning from Democratic senators, Boggs seemed to claim that he didn’t know anti-choice violence against abortion doctors was a problem. He later walked that back and said he was only referring to the debate over that specific bill, but an audio recording from that time shows that the topic was definitely raised during that debate.

It might seem odd that Boggs is the first Obama nominee to fail this term due to Democratic opposition, but Boggs wasn’t picked by Obama for his ideology.

Boggs was nominated as part of an all-or-nothing “package” of judicial candidates, pre-approved by Georgia Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson. They agreed not to use their veto power, and Republicans agreed to end their filibuster of Jill Pryor’s nomination to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, in exchange for the nominations of Boggs and two other pre-approved candidates to the federal bench.

Still, Obama supporters were shocked that the president would agree to a deal with such an extreme candidate. Their opposition may have won out in the end.