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White House questioned over judicial nominee with anti-LGBT past

Right-wing

Capitol Hill
Capitol Hill
Several progressive organizations, noting that they are “committed to protecting reproductive and civil rights, racial justice, and equality under the law,” have written a letter to Senate Democrats asking them to oppose one of President Obama’s judicial nominees to a federal court in Georgia. The president appointed Michael Boggs to the federal district court, and, according to a Washington Blade report, Boggs’ controversial record immediately came under scrutiny:

Among his votes were against removing the Confederate emblem from Georgia’s state flag; in favor of a “Choose Life” license plate that helped fund anti-abortion groups; and in favor of strengthening parental consent laws to require a photo ID and for parents to accompany daughters under the age of 18 to abortion clinics — with no exception for rape or incest.

More relevant to the LGBT rights movement, Boggs in 2004 voted for legislation authorizing the referendum on the constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Georgia. It’s unclear whether he still holds that position, or, like many other lawmakers, he has since evolved to support marriage equality.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), GetEqual, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force are among the groups who signed the letter, which can be found here, via Buzzfeed.

The Blade story notes that the White House is declining to comment:

“I haven’t seen the statements from the groups that you mentioned,” Earnest said. “I’ll see if we can collect some more information and get back to you with a specific reaction.”

Earnest declined comment during the briefing after the White House for more than a week hasn’t responded to the Washington Blade’s request to comment on calls to remove Boggs.

Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and a spokesperson for Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), who are both on the Senate Judiciary Committee, have spoken about the nomination and today’s letter from progressive groups:

“This letter raises legitimate and important questions about Judge Boggs’s record,” Blumenthal said in a statement. “I look forward to hearing him explain his positions fully before the Judiciary Committee when that time comes.”

Boggs has not had a hearing before the Judiciary Committee yet, and progressive groups are hoping to scuttle his chances at a federal judgeship before the committee meets to consider him. Blumenthal and other Democratic Judiciary members — including the chair, Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy — received the progressive groups’ letter Thursday.

In the letter, the progressive groups say Boggs’ legislative record “demonstrated a troubling lack of concern for individuals whose experience and personal history differ from his own, creating a record that lacks a demonstrated commitment to fairness and equal justice.” Boggs was nominated to the federal district court by Obama as part of a deal with Georgia’s Republican senators aimed at filling vacancies on the court.

Leahy’s office said Thursday that the Judiciary chair will wait for a hearing before expressing his views on Boggs.

“Boggs hasn’t had a hearing yet and we don’t have all his paperwork,” said Leahy spokeswoman Jessica Brady. “I don’t expect that the chairman will weigh in until the nominee has had the opportunity for a hearing and it is pending before the committee for a vote.”

No other Democratic senators have commented on the matter.

9 Comments

  • 1. Seth From Maryland  |  February 21, 2014 at 10:20 am

    looks like pressure from Canada,Us, and Europe is working in Uganda:UGANDAN PRESIDENT MUSEVENI DELAYS SIGNING OF ANTI-GAY BILL, ASKS U.S. FOR HELP

    BY ANDY TOWLE
    Ugandan President Museveni today hedged on his commitment to sign the anti-homosexuality bill, saying that information and reaction he had received since announcing his decision has prompted him to seek more information.

    MuseveniWrote Museveni in a statement published by the Ugandan Observer:

    Their unanimous conclusion was that homosexuality, contrary to my earlier thinking, was behavioural and not genetic. It was learnt and could be unlearnt. I told them to put their signatures to that conclusion which they did. That is why I declared my intention to sign the Bill, which I will do.

    I have now received their signed document, which says there is no single gene that has been traced to cause homosexuality. What I want them to clarify is whether a combination of genes can cause anybody to be homosexual. Then my task will be finished and I will sign the Bill.

    After my statement to that effect which was quoted widely around the World, I got reactions from some friends from outside Africa. Statements like: “it is a matter of choice” or “whom they love” which President Obama repeated in his statement would be most furiously rejected by almost the entirety of our people.

    It cannot be a matter of choice for a man to behave like a woman or vice-versa. The argument I had pushed was that there could be people who are born like that or “who they are”, according to President Obama’s statement.

    I, therefore, encourage the US government to help us by working with our Scientists to study whether, indeed, there are people who are born homosexual. When that is proved, we can review this legislation.

    I would be among those who will spearhead that effort. That is why I had refused to sign the Bill until my premise was knocked down by the position of our Scientists.

    I would like to discourage the USA government from taking the line that passing this law will “complicate our valued relationship” with the USA as President Obama said. Countries and Societies should relate with each other on the basis of mutual respect and independence in decision making.
    http://www.towleroad.com/2014/02/ugandan-presiden

  • 2. davep  |  February 21, 2014 at 10:42 am

    Somebody needs to explain to President Musevini (and all of the "scientists" in Uganda, apparently) that genetics are not the only thing that can contribute to an immutable characteristic. What the hell are they thinking? The ignorance and lack of logical thinking that is fueling this issue is astounding.

    Not to mention, even if orientation were not immutable, there is still no rational reason for any of these oppressive and idiotic laws. But I suspect Musevini is still decades away from being able to comprehend that, so just getting him to understand the basic truths about sexual orientation would be good for now.

  • 3. Eric  |  February 21, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    On the one hand they want genes as proof, on the other hand, they deny evolution.

  • 4. Straight Ally #3008  |  February 21, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    I, therefore, encourage the US government to help us by working with our Scientists to study whether, indeed, there are people who are born homosexual. When that is proved, we can review this legislation.

    Notify Dean Hamer, stat.

  • 5. Rick O.  |  February 22, 2014 at 6:14 am

    The last government to use, relentlessly, scientists to ferret out why people are not the same was Hitler's.

  • 6. 5:10  |  February 21, 2014 at 10:22 am

    Another day, another court ruling.

    Federal Judge Rules Some Illinois Same-Sex Couples Can Marry Immediately
    http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/federal-judg

  • 7. Zack12  |  February 21, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    It's the White House trying to play nice instead of putting their foot down on the blocking of judicial nominees.
    Bottom line, they are afraid they are going to lose the Senate this year and don't want to do away with the rest of the rules but that is no excuse to appoint hard core bigots to the bench.

  • 8. JimT  |  February 21, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    The Senate really does need to do away with the other rules that are holding up judicial confirmations. If the GOP takes control they certainly will do away with rules to pack the courts with their judges.

  • 9. Lucks  |  March 26, 2014 at 12:34 am

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