- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 15, 2014

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Thursday would not commit to bringing the nomination of state Judge Michael Boggs for a federal judgeship in Georgia up for a floor vote if the nomination got through committee, reiterating his personal opposition to the confirmation.

“I am going to oppose him,” Mr. Reid told reporters Thursday, adding that Judge Boggs‘ opposition to gay marriage and support for Georgia’s then-current state flag in the 1990s marks him as “out of the mainstream” and disqualifying for the federal bench.


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“Here is a man who has been outspoken in denying equality for people to be married; he has been outspoken in trying to re-create the flag of the rebels, the Confederates. He’s a person, in my opinion, not in the mainstream, and I don’t think he deserves to be a federal judge.”

As a state lawmaker, Judge Boggs had supported keeping the Confederate insignia on the Georgia state flag, and has also opposed gay marriage and supported a measure that would publicly disclose the number of abortions doctors perform.


Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee this week, Judge Boggs, who now sits on the Georgia Court of Appeals, said he didn’t think it would be appropriate to support the abortion measure knowing what he knows now. He also said he was personally offended by the flag, but was trying to listen to his constituents on the matter.

Mr. Reid said Democrats plan to hold a caucus meeting later Thursday.

The Obama administration had no immediate reaction to Mr. Reid’s words Thursday, but White House spokesman Jay Carney had said Wednesday that while President Obama supports senators voting their conscience “as a general matter,” the criticisms of Judge Boggs are not based on his 10-year track record as a state trial and appellate court judge.

“Based on his tenure trial record and state trial and appellate court judge record, the president believes that Judge Boggs is qualified and should be confirmed,” Mr. Carney said, noting that the nomination is supported by Georgia’s two Republican senators and arose as part of a compromise package of seven nominees to fill long-vacant judicial seats in the state.

Sen. Johnny Isakson, Georgia Republican, said that the deal was for all seven to go before the Judiciary Committee “at the same time.” However, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat and the panel chairman, said he was not part of that deal.

Even apart from whether Judge Boggs will pass the Judiciary Committee, Mr. Reid would not commit Thursday to putting Judge Boggs‘ nomination up for a floor vote in that event.

“We’ll see,” he said.