A bigoted Georgia judge who tried to walk back his years of anti-gay rhetoric to win appointment to the federal bench is now in the mix for a seat on the Georgia Supreme Court.
Michael Boggs is among nearly 100 attorneys and judges nominated for two openings on the state's high court. His inclusion on the list of possibilities is likely to cause LGBT and progressive activists to shudder. When Boggs was nominated in 2014 for a seat on the U.S. District Court, activists pounced on his legislative and judicial record that included rallying against gay marriage and gay Boy Scouts, while supporting the Confederate flag and abortion restrictions.
The opposition to Boggs, which included U.S. Rep. John Lewis, helped derail his nomination to the federal court.
But Boggs was among 15 names added to the list of state Supreme Court nominees last week, pushing the total to 94, according to the Daily Report. To be considered by the state Judicial Nominating Commission, the nominees must complete a detailed application package by Aug. 26, the media outlet reported. From there, the commission narrows the pool of candidates to five for each seat and sends the list to Gov. Nathan Deal, who appoints the new justices.
Deal likes to promote sitting judges. That could help Boggs, a former Superior Court judge who was appointed to the state Court of Appeals in 2012 – by Deal. Later that year, Boggs was elected sate-wide to a six-year term.
Among those nominated are several superior court judges from around the state and many members of the Georgia Court of Appeals.
“This governor has displayed a fondness for elevating sitting judges,” said appellate lawyer Darren Summerville. “There's a likelihood he'll look toward the Court of Appeals.”
On the upside, the nominees also include two LGBT attorneys – Gary Alembik and Christine Koehler – though Koehler later withdrew from consideration.
When Boggs was nominated to the federal bench in 2014, he tried to walk back his anti-gay rhetoric as a lawmaker and judicial candidate by expressing regret for not being more “articulate.” By when he was venting his anti-gay opinions in 2004, being articulate wasn't a problem for Boggs.
“I tell you that and I submit to you that whether you’re a Democrat or whether you’re a Republican, whether you’re rural, from a rural area, like myself, or whether you represent an urban area, we have opportunities seldom in my short tenure in the legislature to stand up for things that are commonsensical, things that are premised on good conservative Christian values, and in this instance in particular, to support the sanctity of marriage.”
Nevermind that in 2014, Boggs avoided saying whether he agreed with Georgia dropping its sodomy ban in 1998, or the U.S. Supreme Court decision that invalidated a similar ban in Texas in 2003.