‘Turncoat’ Lewis says he won’t support confirmation of Boggs

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U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Atlanta), who has been called a “turncoat” by other black Democrats in Congress because of a controversial judicial appointment by President Obama, said Monday afternoon he will not support the nomination of Georgia appellate judge Michael Boggs to a federal judgeship.

“Based on the evidence revealed during this hearing, I do not support the confirmation of Michael Boggs to the federal bench,” Lewis said in a prepared statement.

“His record is in direct opposition to everything I have stood for during my career, and his misrepresentation of that record to the committee is even more troubling,” Lewis said.

Boggs a former state legislator who currently sits on the Georgia Court of Appeals, was part of a package of seven judicial appointments worked out between the Obama administration and Georgia’s Republican senators, Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss.

Boggs has been attacked by congressional Democrats because, as a Georgia House member from Waycross, he voted for a constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage and against a bill to remove the Confederate battle emblem from the state flag.

Prior to Monday, Lewis had not opposed the White House deal that included the Boggs nomination and was catching flak from such Democratic colleagues as Rep. David Scott of Atlanta.

“John Lewis has betrayed Georgia if this is his new position,” Scott said Sunday. “He is speaking for the White House and not women, African-Americans or gays with this new position, and he has turned his back on his own supporters.”

Scott also denounced Lewis as a “turncoat” for not publicly opposing the Boggs nomination.

“I have fought long and hard and even put my life on the line for the cause of equal rights and social justice,” Lewis protested Monday.

“My commitment to these ideals has never changed, and my record is solid and unwavering,” Lewis argued. “I take a backseat to no one and have been at the forefront for decades in defense of the right to marry, a women’s right to choose, and the imperative of non-violence as a means of dissent.”

Lewis said that Boggs’ testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee “suggests Boggs may allow his personal political leanings to influence his impartiality on the bench. I do not have a vote in the Senate, but if I did I would vote against the confirmation of Michael Boggs.”

Senators such as Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and Dianne Feinstein of California have indicated they may base their votes on Boggs’ nomination on what Lewis says about the nominee.

Whether Lewis’ statement on Boggs will affect the final Senate vote is another matter, however.

Isakson and Chambliss presumably will have the support of all their Republican colleagues for the Boggs nomination, which would provide him with 45 of the 51 votes needed for confirmation. They would need the votes of just six Democratic senators to clinch the nomination – which would enable the Boggs appointment to go through even if senators like Reid vote against it.

© 2014 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: Barack Obama , David Scott , federal judgeships , John Lewis , Johnny Isakson , Michael Boggs , Saxby Chambliss