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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he opposes appointing Michael Boggs to the federal judiciary:
“Unless I have a better explanation. I can’t vote for him. This is a lifetime appointment. He’s said some things and made some decisions I think are not very good," Reid told BuzzFeed. He added that he had not yet conveyed his thoughts to the White House.
Boggs was the focus Tuesday of most of the questioning at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on seven nominees to the federal bench.
The conservative Democrat, a former state legislator who now sits on the Georgia Court of Appeals, was nominated by President Obama as part of a deal to get nominations of judges for the federal circuit court past the state's two Republican U.S. senators. At issue are Boggs's stance against marriage equality, against abortion and in favor of continuing to include the Confederate battle flag as part of the Georgia state flag.
Among questioners at the hearing was Democratic Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota who challenged Boggs' statement that he wasn't aware that a state amendment that would have publicized the names of abortion providers could pose risks for them:
“You were a state legislator at the time and you weren’t aware of any of the public safety issues that were involved around this whole issue?” Franken asked. “Doctors were murdered for this, and yet you were not aware of that at all?”
“I wasn’t,” Boggs said. “That was probably attributable to the fact that this was a floor amendment to a bill … and not something that I had an opportunity to study.”
“Thirty-seven years old. A state legislator. Were not aware of anything,” Franken responded. “OK.”
Democratic Sens. Dick Blumenthal and Dianne Feinstein also indicated without saying so directly that they will have a hard time voting for Boggs.