Majority Leader Harry Reid has joined a list of Democratic senators who have said they may not vote to confirm Michael Boggs, nominated by President Barack Obama to the U.S. District Court bench in Atlanta, Politico reported.
Boggs was selected by the White House as part of a deal with Georgia's two Republican senators, Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson. Many of the president's judicial nominees had long been held up due to GOP opposition. Now the president is facing a backlash from his own camp.
Reid said that the positions Boggs took as a state legislator on gay rights, abortion, and in opposition to changing the state flag, which contained a Confederate emblem, made it difficult to support him.
"Unless I have a better explanation. I can’t vote for him," the majority leader told BuzzFeed
. "This is a lifetime appointment. He’s said some things and made some decisions I think are not very good."
Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., along with Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., both said they had made no decision on whether to vote to confirm Boggs, according to Politico.
Leahy said that the White House did not consult him about the nomination. "They are busy people. They talk to only important senators," Politico reported.
Reid and Durbin said they would take advice from Georgia Rep. John Lewis, a veteran leader of the civil rights movement.
During his appearance before the Judiciary Committee, Boggs was questioned about his stance on abortion, the Confederate flag, and his support for an amendment outlawing same-sex marriage, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
He told the senators that he wouldn't let his Christian faith influence future judicial decisions. On the flag issue, he said he'd followed the wishes of his constituents and that he was personally glad the flag was modified.
Boggs is now a judge on the Georgia Court of Appeals.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., also expressed reservations about voting for Boggs, the Journal-Constitution reported.
Senators are expected to ask Boggs follow-up questions in the course of next week before the committee votes.
The White House continues to back the Boggs nomination though it has not lobbied senators on his behalf. Chambliss said that it took three years to agree on a judicial package deal with the Obama administration. "The White House has stood by [Boggs] from Day One and they continue to stand by him," Politico reported.
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