One of the greatest advantages there is to holding the White House is the fact that, as president, you get to stack the courts for as long as you are in office. The ability to sway the judicial branch had been quite a bit more difficult for President Barack Obama, who has seen an unprecedented number of his appointees — judicial and legislative — blocked by a do nothing congress. Still, that shouldn’t stop the Commander in Chief from only offering judicial candidates who best represent the ideals and policies that the President himself, as well as his party, embraces.
Instead, he nominated Michael Boggs.
A judge out of Georgia, as well as a former legislator, Boggs represents an attempt for the administration to compromise a bit, in the hopes that they may be able to finally get someone into the Court of Appeals for that district. By allowing conservative Boggs to be considered for the federal bench, Republicans are supposed to agree to put through some other nominees that have been on hold for as much as two years.
So what sort of candidate do Republicans ask for when they are making deals? Candidates with some pretty problematic policy beliefs. Here are 4 bad policies endorsed by Obama’s judicial nominee, Michael Boggs:
1) Publicize names of doctors who provide abortions. While Boggs was in the legislature, he voted in favor of a bill that would have made public all the names of people who provided abortions. This, as Senator Franken noted, was a particularly dangerous bill, as the state had already had one clinic bombed in the past by an anti-abortion extremist. “There could clearly be public safety implications for these doctors if you put this detailed information about them online,” said Senator Amy Klobuchar during the hearing, to which Boggs responded that yes, in hindsight maybe that was a poor decision he made.
2) Opposed removing the confederate symbol from the flag of Georgia. You would think that we’ve reached a point in our country’s history where at least all the public officials could agree that promoting the slave owning confederacy isn’t the best thing in the world. Yet when a bill came up to remove the confederate emblem from the Georgia state flag while Boggs was a legislator, he said no.
His justification for his vote during today’s hearing? It wasn’t that he thought it should stay on, but that his voters would have wanted it, and he was elected to do what they wanted, not what he wanted.
3) Amend the constitution to ban same sex marriage. While in the legislature, Boggs supported adding an amendment to the state constitution to ban same sex marriage. Considering the role that the courts are currently playing as marriage equality is sweeping the nation, that should be a serious concern for GLBT activists. Boggs, meanwhile, has only said that he legislated based on his “opinion at the time,” and dodged any questions of what he would do as a judge. “My position on that … may or may not have changed since that time, as many people’s have over the past decade,” he said during the confirmation hearing.
4) Abortion restrictions, abortion restrictions, abortion restrictions. Boggs’ support of opening up abortion providers to harassment and even violence should have keyed us into the fact that he’s not a fan of abortion rights. Included in his votes were more restrictive rules on minors obtaining abortions, attempts to funnel money to crisis pregnancy centers, even all out “personhood” style abortion bans.
This is a red flag as a judge, since he would be eventually reviewing challenged abortion bills coming out of the state. With Georgia Right to Life exerting more and more influence over the state legislature, and the anti-abortion advocacy group obsessed with nothing short of an all out ban on abortion under all circumstances and with no exceptions, it won’t be long before a highly unconstitutional bill will start winding its way up the courts for a challenge.
Should Democrats approve a far right judge, just to finally get through a few appointments of their own? The president may think this is a good plan, but we’ll have to wait and see if Congress agrees.
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