Washington (CNN) - The White House is sticking it to Democrats and standing by its nominee.
Despite mounting protests from Democrats on Capitol Hill, a spokesman made clear Saturday that President Barack Obama will not withdraw Michael Boggs' nomination to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.
"Based on Judge Boggs' ten-year track record as a state trial and appellate court judge, the President believes he is qualified for the federal bench. Of all the recent criticisms offered against Michael Boggs, not one is based on his record as a judge for the past 10 years," said White House spokesman Eric Schultz.
Boggs came under heavy criticism at his hearing earlier this week as senators questioned his past support for the Confederate emblem on the former Georgia state flag, as well as controversial votes he had as a state legislator on issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion.
The opposition reached a crescendo when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced Thursday that he would not vote to confirm Boggs.
Reid spokesman Adam Jentleson told CNN that the Democratic leader feels he cannot vote for Boggs’ nomination.
The news sets up a pointed public break between the top two Democrats in the country and put Obama in the uncomfortable position of opposing his own party.
But the selection is more about politics.
Obama, who does not share Boggs' stance on social issues, nominated him as part of a deal with Senate Republicans. In exchange for Boggs, Georgia's two senators, Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson, agreed to support the President's judicial nomination of Leslie Abrams - and Republicans would stop blocking other judicial nominations.
"Our choice is clear: Do we work with Republican senators to find a compromise, or should we leave the seats vacant? Four of these vacancies are judicial emergencies, and we believe it would be grossly irresponsible for the president to leave these seats vacant," said Schultz.
The seats have been vacant for more than three years now.
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.
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.
At the moment, the White House is not backing down.
Reid’s office told CNN that he has made no decision on whether to block the nomination from going to the Senate floor for a vote.
–CNN’s Jim Acosta, Conor Finnegan, and Lisa Desjardins contributed to this report.