Michael Boggs, President Obama's disastrous nominee for the federal bench in Georgia, strained all credulity when he insisted in his confirmation hearing in the Judiciary Committee that he was unaware of the abortion debate happening all around him as a state legislator. He said that he didn't know that an amendment—which he voted for—that would have required physicians providing abortions to post their profiles on a public website and include how many abortions they performed each year could actually harm doctors.
He says that he had no earthly idea at the time that this might create a serious risk to the physicians, and had he realized that at the time, he would have voted against it. That claim was implausible enough in last week's confirmation hearing. Now, Huffington Post has obtained the audio of the Georgia House debate over the amendment in March 2001, and it makes Boggs's testimony completely unbelievable.
"What the Franklin amendment did was say that ... people that performed abortions, that they would have to report how many they were performing a year," state Rep. Larry Walker (D) said as the measure came up for a vote. "Everybody in the Senate agreed that this was bad because it's probably going to cause some people to be harmed, to be honest with you. Maybe killed." [...]The Georgia Senate had, in fact, rejected this legislation on precisely the grounds that it would endanger doctors. It failed ultimately in the House, as well. Boggs told senators on the Judiciary Committee last week that because the measure was a floor amendment instead of an actual bill, he just didn't have enough time to study it and didn't realize how dangerous it was. Which means he missed the entire controversy as the amendment failed in the state Senate, that he read no newspaper stories or editorials that appeared while the legislature was considering the amendments, and that he was paying no attention at all to the debate in the House quoted above while it was happening. Despite being in the room.
[State Rep. James] Mills pressed Walker on why that could lead to a doctor losing his or her life.
"Have you heard about these clinics being bombed and these people being shot?" asked Walker. "If the word goes out ... this very well could cause that. In fact, I had a leading Republican over there [in the Senate] say, 'We're for right to life. Not this kind of thing.'" [...]
The amendment ultimately failed to pass. But Boggs, who was there to hear his colleagues' critiques of the measure, voted in favor of it.
All of which should be plenty to disqualify Boggs from a lifetime seat on the federal bench. Because there are just two conclusions one can reach from this: he's either an out-and-out liar, or he's a completely uninformed idiot. So far all of Senate leadership has stated their opposition to Boggs, as has the highly influential Rep. John Lewis, from Boggs's home state. Democratic Sens. Mark Begich and John Walsh, both facing re-election battles this year, say they oppose the nomination. It's time the White House pulls the plug on it.