Senate’s No. 2 Democrat Opposes Controversial Obama Nominee

Michael Boggs is fast losing Democratic support.

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 16: Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) (L) and Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) (R) speak to the media after successfully pushing a bipartisan bill through the U.S. Senate to end the government shutdown and raise the debt limit at the U.S. Capitol October 16, 2013 in Washington, DC. Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced that they have reached bipartisan deal to raise the nation's debt ceiling and end the sixteen day government shutdown. The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for a vote.  
National Journal
Elahe Izad
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Elahe Izad
May 21, 2014, 12:22 p.m.

Sen­ate Ma­jor­ity Whip Dick Durbin has come out against a con­tro­ver­sial Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion ju­di­cial nom­in­ee, sig­nal­ing trouble for the em­battled former state le­gis­lat­or.

Durbin told Na­tion­al Journ­al that he will be vot­ing against the nom­in­a­tion of Mi­chael Boggs to be U.S. Dis­trict Court judge in Geor­gia. Durbin sits on the Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee, which will have to ap­prove of Boggs be­fore his nom­in­a­tion can head to the Sen­ate floor.

Boggs, a former Geor­gia Demo­crat­ic state le­gis­lat­or, faces lib­er­al op­pos­i­tion due to his past vot­ing re­cord and state­ments on is­sues such as abor­tion, same-sex mar­riage, and the Con­fed­er­ate flag. Durbin, who had ques­tioned Boggs dur­ing a com­mit­tee hear­ing last week, had pre­vi­ously said he wanted to speak with civil-rights icon and Rep. John Lewis of Geor­gia be­fore mak­ing up his mind.

Lewis re­leased a state­ment this week say­ing that he doesn’t sup­port Boggs to serve on the fed­er­al bench. “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.

That seemed to seal the deal for Durbin. “I saw [Lewis’s] state­ment. I have not spoken with him per­son­ally. His state­ment was very clear,” Durbin told Na­tion­al Journ­al. “I said to my col­leagues from Geor­gia, and I said pub­licly af­ter­ward, that I have one phone call that was crit­ic­al to my de­cision and that was to John Lewis of Geor­gia. And he was op­posed to Mr. Boggs and I’m go­ing to be vot­ing no for the reas­ons that he ar­tic­u­lated.”

The nom­in­a­tion of Boggs to serve on the fed­er­al bench was part of a com­prom­ise deal, which in­cludes six ju­di­cial nom­in­ees in total, put to­geth­er by the White House and Geor­gia’s two Re­pub­lic­an sen­at­ors. In ex­change for Boggs, Sens. Johnny Isak­son and Saxby Cham­b­liss agreed to re­lease a two-year hold on a Cir­cuit Court nom­in­ee.

“This is a re­com­mend­a­tion from the two sen­at­ors,” White House press sec­ret­ary Jay Car­ney said of the Geor­gia sen­at­ors’ choice of Boggs on Tues­day. “It is our view that he is qual­i­fied for this post. His track re­cord as a state tri­al and ap­pel­late court judge demon­strates that he is qual­i­fied for the fed­er­al bench, and we ob­vi­ously sup­port his nom­in­a­tion.”

But a grow­ing chor­us of Demo­crats are de­fy­ing the White House on this nom­in­a­tion; Durbin joins Sen­ate Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Harry Re­id in op­pos­ing it. Re­id hasn’t com­mit­ted to bring­ing the nom­in­a­tion to the floor should it clear the Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee. But Boggs’s pro­spects could die there — the com­mit­tee makeup of 10 Demo­crats and eight Re­pub­lic­ans means at least two Demo­crats will need to back him in com­mit­tee, along with all Re­pub­lic­ans.

Last week, a num­ber of Demo­crats on that com­mit­tee ex­pressed re­ser­va­tions in sup­port­ing Boggs. But one mem­ber, Sen. Shel­don White­house of Rhode Is­land, has signaled open­ness to sup­port­ing the nom­in­ee in com­mit­tee. “I’m still listen­ing,” White­house said. “I’m a be­liev­er in the im­port­ance of the loc­al sen­at­ors’ views about their home states about dis­trict judges be­ing re­spec­ted, so it would take a pretty ex­cep­tion­al reas­on for me to vi­ol­ate that rule.”

What We're Following See More »
STAKES ARE HIGH
Debate Could Sway One-Third of Voters
7 hours ago
THE LATEST

"A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found that 34% of registered voters think the three presidential debates would be extremely or quite important in helping them decide whom to support for president. About 11% of voters are considered 'debate persuadables'—that is, they think the debates are important and are either third-party voters or only loosely committed to either major-party candidate."

Source:
YOU DON’T BRING ME FLOWERS ANYMORE
Gennifer Flowers May Not Appear After All
7 hours ago
THE LATEST

Will he or won't he? That's the question surrounding Donald Trump and his on-again, off-again threats to bring onetime Bill Clinton paramour Gennifer Flowers to the debate as his guest. An assistant to flowers initially said she'd be there, but Trump campaign chief Kellyanne Conway "said on ABC’s 'This Week' that the Trump campaign had not invited Flowers to the debate, but she didn’t rule out the possibility of Flowers being in the audience."

Source:
HAS BEEN OFF OF NEWSCASTS FOR A WEEK
For First Debate, Holt Called on NBC Experts for Prep
7 hours ago
THE DETAILS

NBC's Lester Holt hasn't hosted the "Nightly News" since Tuesday, as he's prepped for moderating the first presidential debate tonight—and the first of his career. He's called on a host of NBC talent to help him, namely NBC News and MSNBC chairman Andy Lack; NBC News president Deborah Turness; the news division's senior vice president of editorial, Janelle Rodriguez; "Nightly News" producer Sam Singal, "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd, senior political editor Mark Murray and political editor Carrie Dann. But during the debate itself, the only person in Holt's earpiece will be longtime debate producer Marty Slutsky.

Source:
WHITE HOUSE PROMISES VETO
House Votes to Bar Cash Payments to Iran
7 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"The House passed legislation late Thursday that would prohibit the federal government from making any cash payments to Iran, in protest of President Obama's recently discovered decision to pay Iran $1.7 billion in cash in January. And while the White House has said Obama would veto the bill, 16 Democrats joined with Republicans to pass the measure, 254-163."

Source:
NO SURPRISE
Trump Eschewing Briefing Materials in Debate Prep
7 hours ago
THE DETAILS

In contrast to Hillary Clinton's meticulous debate practice sessions, Donald Trump "is largely shun­ning tra­di­tion­al de­bate pre­par­a­tions, but has been watch­ing video of…Clin­ton’s best and worst de­bate mo­ments, look­ing for her vul­ner­ab­il­it­ies.” Trump “has paid only curs­ory at­ten­tion to brief­ing ma­ter­i­als. He has re­fused to use lecterns in mock de­bate ses­sions des­pite the ur­ging of his ad­visers. He prefers spit­balling ideas with his team rather than hon­ing them in­to crisp, two-minute an­swers.”

Source:
×