Judge Boyle’s record is troubling in at least two distinct ways. First, he has been reversed frequently by the Fourth Circuit, one of the most conservative appeals courts in the entire country. In fact, he has been reversed considerably more frequently than has the average district court judge in the Fourth Circuit and around the country. He has also been reversed an average of more than twice as often per year as any other federal district court judge President Bush has nominated to the appellate bench. Such a high record of reversals, especially considering that Judge Boyle has frequently been reversed for making the same or similar errors, calls into question his ability as a jurist. And his apparent effort to obscure his record of reversals in his answers under oath to questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee, as detailed below, raises extremely serious concerns.
Second, Judge Boyle’s record reveals a troubling history of espousing a damaging neo-federalist philosophy from the bench that is particularly harmful to civil rights. He has been very aggressive in supporting “states’ rights” views in cases that criticize Congress’s authority to protect individuals from discrimination committed by state agencies. Moreover, a number of his decisions have been specifically hostile to civil rights, including with respect to cases brought by people with disabilities as well as in redistricting and race and sex discrimination cases, many of which have been reversed. And he has been reversed several times in important cases concerning campaign finance.