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The Deal: Obama's Conservative, Anti-Choice Judicial Nominee

Obama's nomination of Georgia state Judge Michael Boggs to the federal judiciary is wrong on so many levels.
The Deal: Obama's Conservative, Anti-Choice Judicial Nominee
Image from: Wikimedia Commons

Maybe there aren't a lot of choices when it comes to picking federal judges in the South, but that's no excuse for the president to nominate someone that would make Newt Gingrich rub his hands together with glee:

President Barack Obama has now infuriated abortion rights advocates, civil rights leaders and Democratic lawmakers in his push to confirm a Georgia judicial nominee they argue is too socially conservative.

NARAL Pro-Choice America announced Wednesday that it is launching a new campaign to defeat Georgia state Judge Michael Boggs, whom Obama nominated in December to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. The group is alarmed by votes that Boggs took -- as a state legislator in the early 2000s -- to "channel funds to anti-choice crisis pregnancy centers and make a parental consent law even more extreme," according a petition emailed to NARAL supporters.

"We’re disappointed that pro-choice President Obama nominated someone who doesn’t share our pro-choice values. We agree with the president on a lot of things, but not this pick," reads the email. "Speak out now and call on your senators to oppose a nominee who can’t be trusted with our rights."

Boggs has already come under fire from civil rights icons Joseph Lowery and Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) -- both of whom were awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Obama -- for a vote Boggs took in opposition to removing the Confederate insignia from Georgia's flag. They teamed up with Georgia's Democratic congressional lawmakers in December to urge Obama to rescind Boggs' nomination and start the process over.

Lowery, for one, was so baffled by the president's choice that he said it must have been a staff error. "I think [Obama] must have left it to somebody else," Lowery told HuffPost last month. "It was a mistake."

Or maybe it wasn't a mistake at all.

Boggs appears so out-of-step with Obama's past nominees because he is part of an all-or-nothing package of six judicial nominees agreed to by the president and Georgia's two Republican senators, Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson, months ago. Obama made some pretty big concessions: Four of the six nominees are GOP picks, and just one of the six is African American -- a lack of diversity that Georgia Democrats argue doesn't reflect the population those judges will oversee.


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Here's the thing. That nomination was made in December and that package of judges still hasn't gone anywhere. Doing a deal with Republicans is like doing a deal with the devil, where they get all the win and the rest of us get all the lose. The fact that they haven't moved ahead with the whole package tells me they're not going to move until they get even more, so let's just call the whole thing off.

This guy's nomination needs to be withdrawn, and withdrawn now. There's no reason to toady to Republicans or force Democratic senators to take a vote on this guy when he's just toxic. There's no win here, only lots of political fodder for conservatives to throw back in our faces.

The NARAL petition is one I'm happy to sign. Hopefully every single Democrat who believes in a fair judiciary will join in that.

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