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Michael Boggs
Michael Boggs, one of President Obama's federal judge nominees from Georgia, strained credibility in his confirmation hearing by the Judiciary Committee last month when he insisted that he was completely ignorant of an abortion debate swirling in the news and in the legislature when he was there—and where he voted for an amendment that would have essentially created a hit list of abortion providers. Boggs insisted that he didn't know what the amendment was about, despite the lengthy debate in both the state's House and Senate, and that we wasn't even aware that abortion clinics were being attacked and doctors were being threatened and killed when the amendment was being considered.

Pressed by Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Al Franken (D-MN) Boggs simply said he was not at all aware that doctors were being murdered. Perhaps realizing how unbelievable that assertion was, Boggs has walked it back in new information he's provided to the senators in writing. He says now that he was aware of the stories, he just didn't link that violence to the amendment, and also says he didn't talk to any of his fellow Democrats about why they were so adamantly opposed to the amendment he voted for.

Several committee members had follow-up questions for Boggs, but Blumenthal homed in on Boggs' self-described lack of awareness about violence aimed at abortion providers. He asked for details on how often Boggs read his local paper at the time, what publications he read, if he talked to Democratic colleagues about the amendment and if he wondered why he was one of just a handful of Democrats who supported it.

Boggs maintained he didn't talk to Democratic leaders or his colleagues about the amendment, and didn't wonder why so many of them opposed it. […]

Franken also had follow-up questions for Boggs on his abortion amendment vote. He asked if he was aware that the amendment had come up for a vote twice in the Georgia House, if he had talked with his colleagues about the measure in the month and a half that passed between those two votes, and if he knew his home-state paper had published an editorial on the risks of the amendment one month before Boggs voted for it.

Boggs responded that he didn't remember talking to anyone about the measure, and has no memory of reading the editorial in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

That still leaves a pretty massive credibility gap for Boggs who says, "I would have been aware of some of the cases of violence at that time, although I do not recall specifically hearing any of these concerns raised relative to this amendment." There was extended debate in the House about precisely the issue of violence when the amendment came up. The controversy had been swirling in the state because the Senate had already rejected the amendment, on precisely the grounds that it could endanger the lives of healthcare providers. That degree of ignorance by a lawmaker about such a prominent controversy just isn't believable. Either that, or it's a disqualification for a lifetime position on the federal bench.

Chances are, these answers aren't going to pass muster with Sens. Blumenthal or Franken, or the rest of the Senate Democrats who have already declared their opposition to Boggs. His nomination might not advance past the Judiciary Committee, where a vote still hasn't been scheduled and senators might still have more questions for him.

Please sign and send the petition: Reject Michael Boggs’s nomination to the U.S. District Court in Georgia.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Wed Jun 04, 2014 at 12:06 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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