Federal Courts

Obama judicial nominee faces liberal ire over votes on abortion, gay marriage

Michael Boggs is facing opposition to his nomination to a U.S. district court over his record while in the Georgia State Assembly.

Michael Boggs is facing opposition to his nomination to a U.S. district court over his record while in the Georgia State Assembly.  (Reuters/GaAppeals.us)

An Obama judicial nominee is facing some fierce opposition from an unlikely source: more than two dozen liberal groups and two Democratic congressmen from his home state.

Michael Boggs, a judge for the Court of Appeals of Georgia and a former state representative, was nominated in January for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. A Senate Judiciary Committee hearing about his nomination is scheduled for Tuesday.

However, Boggs’ nomination is coming under fire over some of the bills he sponsored and voted for while serving in the Georgia General Assembly, mainly because his votes reflect more socially conservative views on abortion and gay rights, despite the fact he served as a Democrat. 

Among the bills he co-sponsored was one in 2003 to establish a “Choose Life adoption support program” to encourage women to consider adoption over abortion. The bill would have established a “Choose Life” license plate to fund the program. Another bill Boggs co-sponsored that year would have tightened restrictions on minors seeking abortions.

These bills drew the ire of NARAL Pro-Choice America, which in a petition on its website calls Boggs “dangerous for women” and urges supporters to tell their senators to oppose his nomination.

“We're disappointed that pro-choice President Obama nominated someone who doesn't share our pro-choice values,” it reads. “We agree with the president on a lot of things, but not this pick.” 

However, Kelsey Hazzard, the head of Secular Pro-Life, criticized NARAL Pro-Choice Americas's efforts in an article for pro-life website Life News, saying it is clear the pro-choice movement is attempting to maintain its grip on the Democratic party. 

"NARAL is willing to spend a good deal of money to send a message to Obama: maintain your party’s pro-abortion ideological purity, or suffer the consequences," she said.

Hazzard also criticized the head of the group, Ilyse Hogue for accusing Boggs of being "anti-American" because his voting record.

"What makes this really rich is that Hogue then goes on to 'define what it means to live your life as an American' when she declares, wrongly, that America is 'a pro-choice nation,'” she said.

Boggs initially did not disclose his voting history on these matters to the Senate Judiciary Committee, but provided the "additional information" in a letter last month to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa. He also apologized for not including it earlier. 

A spokeswoman for the committee told FoxNews.com Boggs sent the materials because committee staff requested more information about his background. She said requests of this nature are relatively common for judicial nominees.

Boggs is also coming under fire from civil rights and LGBT groups over his voting record while in the Assembly. In 2001, Boggs voted against a bill that established a new state flag for Georgia that removed the Confederate flag that had previously dominated it, and in 2004 he voted for a bill to prohibit same-sex marriage.

Boggs’ opposition to the flag bill has been slammed by Reps. John Lewis and David Scott, both Democrats from Georgia who have criticized Obama over the nomination.

“Let me be frank here. I’m proud of this first black president. I love this first black president. But when you are hurt by the one you love, there’s no greater pain than that,” Scott told a radio station in February. “The president of the United States needed to have stood up to these white Republican senators and said ‘I can’t put a man on the court that wanted to keep the flag of slavery, and oppression and racism — the most visible of hatred of black people on my court.'"

Scott was referring to the fact that the White House has stated in numerous media reports the selection of Boggs was part of a broader deal the administration cut with Georgia Republicans to get the judiciary positions filled.

However, one state lawmaker in Georgia, who served in the Assembly with Boggs, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution he disagreed with trashing Boggs or any other nominee in the White House deal. Democratic Rep. Tyrone Brooks said he told Boggs that himself. 

"(The flag bill) was not a defining litmus test for me," Brooks said. "I said, ‘Mike, you’re my friend. I’m not going to be critical of you based on your voting record. And I’m not going to be a part of anything to block your confirmation.'"

Brooks told FoxNews.com the Atlanta Journal-Constitution report accurately reflects his views on the matter. 

Scott has joined with the NARAL Pro-Choice, which is leading a coalition of 27 progressive groups to oppose Boggs. The co-convener of one of those groups, Advocacy for Action, told FoxNews.com they are opposing Boggs because his record indicates he may not adequately understand the issues that impact the community he would serve.

"His legislative record speaks to what his mindset is," Suzy Ockleberry said. "What we all want is a judge who will sit fairly and understand the issues that impact the community."

Boggs did not respond to requests for comment from FoxNews.com.