A bigoted Georgia judge who tried to walk back his years of anti-gay rhetoric to snatch a lifetime appointment to the federal bench now appears stuck with the state Court of Appeals. His stalled nomination is now dead.
That's the signal from Sen. Patrick Leahy, the powerful Democrat who leads the Judiciary Committee. So much for the promotion of Michael Boggs, once a south Georgia lawmaker who rallied against gay marriage and gay Boy Scouts while speaking up for the Confederate flag. Instead, he'll keep his current job on the Georgia Court of Appeals.
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.”
Mr. Boggs earns the unusual distinction as the first Obama judicial nominee this term to fail because of Democratic opposition.
Nominated as part of a deal between the White House and Georgia’s Republican senators to fill a half-dozen court vacancies, Mr. Boggs was opposed by civil rights and progressive groups. He was grilled by Democrats at a May confirmation hearing and pressed to answer additional questions in writing.
The situation was uncomfortable for Democrats, who did not want to defy the president but worried about alienating black voters they need this fall.
The Boggs nomination ignited LGBT and progressive activists, along with Democratic lawmakers. Boggs did little to help himself, first attempting to soften his anti-gay rants of the past and then acting as if he's not quite sure why he said such inarticulate things. This from the man who called banning gay marriage “common sense” from the floor of the Georgia House.
UPDATE | The White House says President Obama still backs the nomination of Boggs. For now.