WASHINGTON — Opposition is growing to President Barack Obama’s nominee to serve as a federal judge in Georgia.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told Buzzfeed in an interview on Wednesday that he “can’t vote” to confirm Obama’s pick, Michael Boggs, unless he gets a better explanation for the judge’s controversial record on civil rights and race.
“This is a lifetime appointment,” Reid said. “He’s said some things and made some decisions I think are not very good.”
Obama's nomination of Boggs as U.S. District Court Judge for the Northern District of Georgia has received a chilly response from the president’s fellow Democrats in the Senate, who questioned Boggs at a hearing Tuesday about his record as a Georgia state legislator.
Civil rights groups have raised concerns about Boggs’ votes in favor of bills that would have restricted abortion and made abortions doctors’ names public, his support of a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, and his opposition to repealing the Confederate flag.
Boggs’ nomination is part of a deal the White House struck with Georgia’s Republican Senators to fill six judicial vacancies in Georgia, including five women_one the first female district judge on her court, and one the first African-American female lifetime appointed judge in Georgia.
“Boggs is not somebody I’m going to vote for unless I have some explanations on why he did that deal with the rebel flag and things he’s said about abortion,” Reid told Buzzfeed.
Obama stands by his choice of Boggs, and considers him qualified based on his judicial record over the past decade, said White House spokesman Jay Carney on Wednesday.
But Obama understands senators must vote with their consciences, even if it means voting against a nominee he chose, Carney said.
“The president of course believes each senator should vote as he or she sees fit,” he said.