Washington (CNN) - Top Senate Democrat Harry Reid struck a significant blow to one of President Barack Obama’s judicial nominations Wednesday, as the senator’s office confirmed that Reid personally opposes Michael Boggs’ nomination to the federal bench.
Reid spokesman Adam Jentleson told CNN that the Democratic leader feels he cannot vote for Boggs’ nomination to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, given Boggs’ past views on abortion, gay marriage and the Confederate flag.
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The news sets up a pointed public break between the top two Democrats in the country.
White House spokesman Jay Carney defended Boggs on Tuesday, insisting he is qualified and has a ten-year record as an impartial state judge.
But there is more at play.
Carney also said the nomination was a strategic move. He told reporters that the White House pushed the Boggs nomination as part of a compromise package with Republicans. In exchange for Boggs, and a couple of other GOP recommendations, Carney said Republicans would stop blocking a handful key Democratic judicial nominees.
“Our choice is clear: Do we work with Republican senators to find a compromise, or should we leave the seats vacant?” Carney said.
But as the White House stands its ground, Reid is revving up opposition, stressing concerns raised by other Democrats in Congress at Boggs’ confirmation hearing on Tuesday.
Boggs served as a conservative Democrat in the Georgia state legislature from 2000 to 2004. During those years, he supported legislation to post the identity and number of procedures done by abortion doctors online, pushed for a Constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and twice voted to keep a Confederate emblem on the Georgia state flag.
Those issues formed a drumbeat of doubt Wednesday, with six top Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee asking Boggs how he balanced his previous views as a legislator with his current duties as a Georgia court of appeals judge.
“My position… would be faithfulness to the rule of law,” Boggs answered, insisting that in his ten years as a judge he has separated his personal opinions from his rulings. “I think my record is the best evidence that I can separate any political opinion I might have (from my rulings.)
He addressed abortion specifically. “You have my commitment,” Boggs told senators, “I will follow the precedent of the U.S. Supreme Court on women’s reproductive issues as I will on any other issue.”
Committee Democrats remained concerned, openly questioning whether they could take Boggs at his word that he would be impartial.
Reid’s statement against Boggs adds to pressure on Judiciary Committee Democrats to oppose the nomination. Several liberal groups, including NARAL Pro-Choice America, MoveOn and the National Organization of Women have come out strongly against Boggs.
Reid’s office told CNN that while the senator is personally opposed to Boggs, he has made no decision on whether to block the nomination from going to the Senate floor for a vote.
-don't be silly, stupid, idiotic. Stay on single rope. Be united. Show the strength to the party with principles, morality, ethics, standards. Don't bicker just like republican garbage. Yes, Obama is smart–listen to him. He is the leader.
I agree with Harry Reid, Michael Boggs’ nomination is a disgrace.
Good , thats what he dose , his jobs.
REid is slowing obama down .making it hard to pick lol both need to go obama and reid both they both headed in the wrong direction
Dino Harry Reid the artifact that keeps on digging up limp bones and burning down the west coast yaaba daaaba dooo .
If they vote Mr harry out god would bless the land out west with rain again ! Just try it . It works .
What is it that the Senators could ask during his confirmation hearings that would set this judge up for impeachment should he LIE ABOUY IT??
I support Democrats that fight against a more conservative judiciary. It seems the Democrats are always yielding ground prematurely. It seems as though Mr. Obama doesn`t negotiate as well as I would like for he is always giving into the GOP. Perhaps he needs to get in the habit of increasing every position by 25% expecting give even more away to the Republicans. Let`s start with a $12.62 per hour minimum wage and rule out judges that ever put the lives of abortion doctors at risk to the crazies, please. Oh, and if they ever embraced the confederate flag, we don`t give that a pass even if they are good ole Georgia boyz.
There is an important need for top Democrats to x-ray their reservations with White House decisions before going veral with either political stance or the media. Mr. Obama is the POTUS, not party head.....and he needs not behave like the Repubs.
Kudos to Harry Reid..... I love Reid.... He is doing the right thing.
There is nothing wrong with this appointment except that the hated now have the power and have become the worst haters.
Obama is the best Republican President elected by the Democrats. Just can't cure stupid.
I am inclined to agree, look at his Judicial records. They will show if what he is saying is true. If it is true and he meets the other qualifications, then he should be, GOP or not. I thought the object was to get fairness in the courts. By the way, I am a loyal and dedicated DEM.
Sheeeesh...........opposes BUT may vote for him. These are hard times I guess. Compromising is in the air. Better than endless deadlock.
Looks like the President is trying to work with all in Congress. Now we can see the real problem. CONGRESS itself. Looks like we have a bunch of power hungry people on our hands. Time for them to go.
This Reid guy is exactly who I want on my team!! hahahahaha
Good for Reid. We have enough teaklans obstructing the rights of women, gays and the confederate flag!
Hairy Reid thinks he is the President. Never trust a person with pig eyes. Reid is all that is wrong with American politics.
So who's blocking obs bills from being tabled in the Senate? Harry Reid. Who's refusing to compromise and holding up putting judges on the bench? Harry Reid. Who calls protesters 'domestic terrorists'? Harry Reid.
Maybe he really has gone completely off the deep end, but it wouldn't surprise me if the Senate follows him against Obama at all.
Wow, did anyone get threatened with a primary for not towing the line? No, you mean you can think for yourself, and form your own opinions, crazy! Now if the Koch brothers hear of your difference in opinion, its primary time for you, nah, they don't completely control the gop, it just really seems that way.... sigh....
Nice to be able to disagree within your own party without fear if losing your job.
In the gop, that gets you a primary challenge, now why would anyone think the Koch brothers run the gop, just because they threaten your job if you publicly express a different opinion, and the politician in question quickly changes their tune. Why are people so blind to this? Is your hatred that important to you?
It is time for Nevada to Vote Dirty Harry Reid OUT of Congress.
Infact ALL Democrats up for election in Nov. 2014 should be OUT!
How much more of this socialistic dictator government control can this country withstand?
Republicans are not much better BUT BETTER!