Tuesday, May 13, 2014

"I don't think my legislative record that's over a decade old is indicative of what kind of judge I'd be [on the federal court]."

That was Michael Boggs, a Georgia Court of Appeals judge nominated by President Obama to the 11th Circuit, being grilled by the liberal wing of the Senate Judiciary Committee at today's hearing.  More from Talking Points Memo:

Democratic senators took the lead in grilling Boggs.
"I was offended by the flag, Senator," he told Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) under questioning, saying it was a "terribly agonizing" decision to choose between his own conscience and the will of his constituents, whom he suggested wanted to keep the Confederate-linked flag. But he said: "I'm glad the flag was changed."
Boggs said he was very sensitive to the views of African-Americans at the time and that those who know him recognize his vote intended no disrespect to them. "If someone is accusing someone of being a racist, I don't know how you disprove that," he said.
Amid questioning from Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Boggs declined to reveal his positions on abortion rights and marriage, saying they're "irrelevant" to how he'd act as a federal judge and that it would be "inappropriate" for a judge to discuss personal views.
 He disowned one bill he voted for, which would disclose the number of abortions performed by doctors, which critics said would endanger their safety. "In light of what I subsequently learned, I don't think it would be appropriate to" do that, Boggs said.
Notably, when asked about marriage rights, Boggs said his views "may or may not have changed" since he voted for a state constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) pointed out that Boggs and the other six nominees Tuesday were negotiated as a package deal between Obama and Georgia's two Republican senators, Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss.
"I have noted before that there is no 'deal' negotiated with me as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee or with any of the other Senators," Leahy said in written testimony. "The constitutional responsibility of advice and consent resides with each individual Senator, and there is no such thing as a binding deal that negates each Senator’s responsibility to determine the fitness of a judicial nominee for a lifetime appointment."
Boggs promised Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) he'd abide by Supreme Court precedent when asked about rulings on contraception (Griswold v. Connecticut), federal treatment of gay married couples (Windsor v. US) and other gay rights rulings.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) voiced her skepticism with Boggs' promises to respect precedent, noting that nominees frequently make that promise to the Senate but behave differently when they become judges.
Boggs faced friendlier questioning from the committee's ranking member, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who asked about his judicial philosophy but didn't bring up the other contentious issues.


Archimboldi said...

I guess Boggs is the sacrificial lamb of this great Georgia compromise.

I wonder whether all the Democrats are really going to vote against Obama's nominee, especially since he seemed to answer all the questions the right way. Wouldn't shock me.

Senator Feinstein's remark makes no sense, if it was acurrately reported. She doesn't believe that Boggs will follow precedent because, although all nominees say that they will, many don't, and, if he's like most, he won't, either. If that's her criterion, then she shouldn't vote any nominee out of committee.

Anonymous said...

Avoid good ol' Boy Georgia lawyers named Boggs.
Just a rule of thumb.

Anonymous said...

I may or may not want to punch him in the nose.

I may or may not have seen him at a public park glory hole site on the way to meet his family at church.

I may or may think he is a red neck.

Anonymous said...

the million dollar question is whether Boggs will wear a black robe or a white sheet when he takes the bench.