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Boggs nomination bogged down: Senate shoots down Obama nominee

Senate Democrats won't budge on their opposition to a controversial judicial nominee with a history of supporting anti-gay, anti-abortion legislation.
President Barack Obama makes a statement from the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, D.C., July 18, 2014. (Photo by Jim Watson/AFP/Getty)
President Barack Obama makes a statement from the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, D.C., July 18, 2014.

Another of President Obama’s judicial nominees has been shot down, but this time at the hands of progressives rather than conservatives.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, said Monday that there is not enough support from his party on the Judiciary Committee to move forward with the nomination of Michael Boggs, a conservative Democrat from Georgia.

Leahy told the New York Times, “He doesn’t have the votes.”

Obama tapped Boggs for a spot on a U.S. district court as part of a deal with Georgia’s two conservative Republican senators to fill judicial vacancies. It's a traditional Senate arrangement called the “blue slip” process, which means a state’s senators support or block nominations informally, and Republicans have used the process to torpedo many of Obama’s judicial picks.

Rep. Mike Boggs (D-Waycross) on the House floor, April 7, 2004 at the Capitol in Atlanta.

But in the end, Boggs’s positions on issues like abortion, gay marriage, and the Confederate flag were too conservative for committee Democrats. Civil rights leaders such as Rep. John Lewis called for President Obama to withdraw Boggs’ nomination back in February, and at a confirmation hearing in May, Boggs faced tough questions from Democrats on his voting record as a Georgia state representative.

While in the state legislature, Boggs voted for a state constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, and in a floor speech, called on colleagues to stand up “stand up for things that are common-sensical, things that are premised on good conservative Christian values, and in this instance in particular, to support the sanctity of marriage.”

Boggs also supported legislation that would have required abortion provider to put personal information online. In a statement, NARAL Pro-Choice America president Ilyse Hogue backed Leahy's call for Boggs to withdraw.

"As we've said from the moment his nomination became public, Boggs lacks both credibility and a demonstrated commitment to equal justice under the law - qualities necessary for a lifetime appointment to the federal bench," Hogue said. "As more information about his record on choice, civil rights, and LGBT equality came to light, support for his nomination became a political liability for any senator who hopes to maintain their constituents' support."