Under normal circumstances, the left wouldn’t ordinarily cheer when one of President Obama’s judicial nominees is derailed. But Michael Boggs wasn’t just another nominee, and as Carl Hulse reported, it was a fight the White House could not win.
The quest by President Obama to put Michael P. Boggs – who supported the Confederate flag and opposed abortion – on the federal bench in Georgia is over.Senator Patrick J. Leahy, who leads the Judiciary Committee, told us it had become clear after talking to his colleagues that Mr. Boggs, under fire from Democrats for his conservative positions, could not win committee support.Mr. Leahy signaled that Mr. Boggs should withdraw: “He doesn’t have the votes.”
How many other Obama judicial nominees have been derailed by Democratic opposition? As of today, the list now has one name.
It’s important to note that the president didn’t really want to nominate Boggs, so this isn’t exactly an example of Senate Democrats betraying the White House. Boggs was included as part of a compromise reached with Republican senators from Georgia, as part of a deal on “blue slips” (for more on what a blue slip is, see our coverage from March).
But Democrats in the upper chamber weren’t part of that agreement and were under no obligations to honor it.
Given his record, Boggs was simply a bridge too far for the Senate majority party.
From Adam Serwer’s msnbc report in February:
A revolt against President Barack Obama’s nominees to the federal bench in Georgia has spread from the civil rights icons who paved the way for Obama’s presidency to the abortion rights movement.The abortion rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America last week announced its opposition to nominee Michael Boggs, joining a coalition of Democratic members of Congress from Georgia and celebrated civil rights leaders like Georgia Democratic Rep. John Lewis, C.T. Vivian and Joseph Lowery.
During his tenure in Georgia’s legislature as a conservative Democrat, Boggs voted for abortion restrictions, a ban on marriage equality, and keeping a Confederate symbol on the Georgia state flag, among other things.
With a record like that, Boggs drew fierce opposition from progressive activists, and Senate Dems apparently found it hard to disagree with them.
Sahil Kapur added, “For Democrats, a benefit of withdrawing the nomination now is that they could theoretically confirm someone else to that position before the next Congress is sworn in next January, at which point Republicans might be in the majority. In the wake of Democrats’ rules change, 51 votes are required to ensure confirmation of nominees other than to the Supreme Court.”