Progressives Chalk Up A Win As Obama Nominee Michael Boggs Goes Down

WASHINGTON -- Progressive groups and Democratic lawmakers fought all year to sink President Barack Obama's nominee Michael Boggs. And this week, they won.

The Senate adjourned Tuesday without taking any action on Boggs' nomination to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. That means his nomination has expired and Obama will have to renominate him next year for Boggs to still have a shot at the lifetime post.

NARAL Pro-Choice America, one of Boggs' biggest critics, has been celebrating all week.

"The great news: our voices were heard! Altogether, more than 40,000 NARAL members and countless progressive activists joined together to protect our courts and stop Boggs from getting a lifetime position," reads a post that NARAL plastered all over social media.

NARAL's posts include a graphic that breaks down how much Democratic opposition Boggs drew over the year: 40,000 NARAL members contacted their lawmakers in opposition, 41 progressive advocacy groups announced their opposition and 12 senators publicly spoke out against his nomination.

Obama has faced intense fire from his base for nominating Boggs. Abortion rights groups protested votes he took as a state legislator to create "Choose Life" license plates and to post online the names of abortion providers at a time of high clinic violence. Civil rights leaders oppose him because of his vote to keep the Confederate insignia on the Georgia state flag. Gay rights groups oppose him for sponsoring a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.

Boggs got a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee in May, but it was mostly Democrats grilling him over his socially conservative record. By the fall, committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced the votes weren't there to confirm him and said Obama should withdraw his nomination.

The big question is whether Obama will nominate him again next year. Republicans will control the Senate and would likely be inclined to support Boggs, but Obama would be picking a public fight with his party. A White House official did not respond to a request for comment.

On Friday, two Georgia congressmen sent a letter to Obama urging him not to bring Boggs back next year.

"We write to respectfully request that you decline to re-nominate Judge Michael P. Boggs for appointment to the federal bench in the 114th Congress," write Reps. Hank Johnson (D) and David Scott (D). "The Senate Judiciary Committee declined to advance Judge Boggs' nomination, and the nominee was opposed by voters who are concerned about civil and reproductive rights, the Georgia Congressional Democratic Delegation and the Congressional Black Caucus."

"Judge Boggs' record as a state legislator, political actions as a state judge, and lack of transparency with the U.S. Senate proves that his nomination is not worthy of further consideration," the letter reads.

The reason Obama nominated Boggs at all is because he was part of an all-or-nothing package of seven nominees that he agreed to with Georgia Republican Sens. Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss. The package included some Democratic picks and some GOP picks, such as Boggs. Everyone else in the package has since been confirmed.

Georgia's senators also have to decide whether they want to give Boggs another push next year. Aides to Isakson and Sen.-elect David Perdue (R), who is replacing the retiring Chambliss, signaled their bosses still want Boggs.

"Sen. Isakson has always supported Judge Boggs’ nomination and continues to support his renomination next year," said Isakson spokeswoman Amanda Maddox.

"Given what we know about Judge Boggs’ judicial record, David believes he deserves serious consideration, but he still hopes to have an opportunity to meet with him or any other judicial nominees personally to hear their views on the Constitution and how they would run their courts," said Perdue spokeswoman Megan Whittemore.

But Perdue has suggested he's open to other nominees for the post, too.

The Daily Report, an Atlanta-based publication, reported that Perdue said Tuesday that he'd like to meet with Boggs "or anyone else who gets nominated."



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