Democrats and civil rights advocates continue to express concerns over two of President Obama’s federal judicial nominees for Georgia’s northern district, who have suspect civil rights backgrounds.
In a package deal with Republican United States Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson from Georgia, President Obama nominated Julie Carnes and Jill A. Pryor to the United States Eleventh Circuit Court, Leslie Abrams to the United States Court of the Middle District of Georgia, and Michael Boggs, Mark Cohen, Leigh May, and Eleanor Ross to the Court of the United States Northern District of Georgia.
If confirmed, Abrams and Ross would become the first Black women to serve lifetime appointments as federal judges in Georgia.
However, Democrats and some progressive groups object to the nominations of Boggs and Cohen.
The United States Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing for the nominees where Democratic senators grilled Boggs, who is currently a judge on Georgia’s appeals court, over his voting record while he served in the Georgia state legislature.
When questioned about his votes against removing the Confederate battle emblem from the Georgia state flag, Boggs said that although he found the Confederate symbol personally offensive, his constituents wanted the opportunity to vote on any changes to the state flag.
Boggs also voted for legislation requiring doctors to list how often they provided abortion services. When senators questioned him about the public safety concerns associated with publishing such a list following decades of violence against doctors who performed abortions, Boggs said that he was unaware of that history at the time of the vote.
A day before the hearing, Rep. David Scott (D-Ga.) said on the Tom Joyner Morning Show, “Here you have the architect and the attorney that defended photo ID voter suppression laws in Georgia, the very same laws the president is fighting all across the country” nominated to the federal bench in Atlanta where most of the Black people are.
To have this being done by the first African-American president is shameful, it’s painful, and it hurts deeply.”
Scott continued: “The president should have stood up to those Republicans and said, ‘No, I can’t do this to my people. You wouldn’t do it to George Bush. You wouldn’t have done it to Bill Clinton. Why are you doing it to me?’”
When white students sued the University of Georgia over the school’s freshman admissions policy that used race as factor, Cohen scored a court victory in 2001 for affirmative action proponents who supported the university’s program, according to Brooks.
Nearly a decade later, then-Georgia state Attorney General Thurbert Baker, asked Cohen to defend Georgia’s photo identification law for in-person voting that many voter’s rights advocates say discriminates against Blacks and the poor. Brooks said it was a move that likely provided Baker, who is Black, political cover.
Brooks called Boggs and Cohen friends and said that he had no reason to oppose their nominations.
“This isn’t the perfect deal, but I trust the president,” said Brooks. “If [the president] had a different hand of cards, the package would look different, but he’s doing the best that he can do under these circumstances.”
Mary Frances Berry, former chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, says that President Obama held his ground and nominated Boggs and Cohen, assuming that the civil rights groups and Democrats in the Senate would go along with his decision.
“The problem with that is that the advocacy groups believe that the president should fight harder to get the nominees that he wants. The president has a lot of power to make horse trades with people on things other than appointments,” said Berry. “There are always things that Senators want.
Obama made the deal but some think the price is too high, said Berry.
Wednesday, June 04, 2014
How's it looking for the new Georgia judges?
Not so good. The Democrats might block Obama's deal. From District Chronicles: