Liberal Groups Fighting Obama Judicial Nominee in Georgia

Friday, 09 May 2014 10:31 PM

By Cathy Burke

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Abortion rights advocates, civil rights leaders, and some Democratic lawmakers are gearing up for a fierce fight over a socially conservative judge from Georgia nominated by President Barack Obama.

Michael Boggs, a judge for the Court of Appeals of Georgia and a former state representative, was tapped by the president in January for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, riling a host of progressive groups.

Abortion rights groups have cried foul over votes Boggs took as a state legislator to create "Choose Life" license plates and to tighten restrictions on minors seeking abortions, even in cases of rape or incest, The Huffington Post reported.

And civil rights leaders are livid because of Boggs' vote to keep the Confederate insignia on the Georgia state flag in 2001.

Gay rights groups, meanwhile, railed about his sponsorship of a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, the Post reported.

Through it all, Obama has stuck to his controversial pick because he's part of package of six judicial nominees the president signed off on last summer with Georgia's Republican senators, Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson, Roll Call has reported.

On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on the nomination, Fox News reported.

And they're likely to get an earful.

NARAL Pro-Choice America has sponsored a petition on its website calling Boggs "dangerous for women" and urging supporters to tell their senators to oppose his nomination.

"We're disappointed that pro-choice President Obama nominated someone who doesn't share our pro-choice values," it reads. "We agree with the president on a lot of things, but not this pick."

And Boggs' opposition in 2001 to a bill that established a new state flag for Georgia that removed the Confederate flag has triggered the wrath of Reps. John Lewis and David Scott, both Democrats from Georgia.

"Let me be frank here. I’m proud of this first black president. I love this first black president. But when you are hurt by the one you love, there’s no greater pain than that," Scott said in February, The Hill reported.

"The president of the United States needed to have stood up to these white Republican senators and said 'I can’t put a man on the court that wanted to keep the flag of slavery, and oppression and racism — the most visible of hatred of black people on my court,'" referring to the White House deal with Georgia Republicans to get the judiciary positions filled.

Scott has joined with the NARAL Pro-Choice, which is leading a coalition of 27 progressive groups to oppose Boggs.

"His legislative record speaks to what his mindset is," Suzy Ockleberry, an official from one of the groups, Advocacy for Action, told Fox News. "What we all want is a judge who will sit fairly and understand the issues that impact the community."

Democratic Rep. Tyrone Brooks, who served in the Assembly with Boggs, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he's standing by the president's nominee.

The flag bill "was not a defining litmus test for me," Brooks said, according to the newspaper. "I said, 'Mike, you’re my friend. I’m not going to be critical of you based on your voting record. And I’m not going to be a part of anything to block your confirmation.'"

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