People For the American Way

2001 Recording Undercuts Georgia Judicial Nominee Mike Boggs’ 2014 Testimony

At his confirmation hearing, Georgia judicial nominee Mike Boggs tried to explain away a number of troubling aspects of his record. Those efforts were unconvincing, which is why People For the American Way opposes Boggs' nomination. Many senators, both on and off the Judiciary Committee, have expressed serious doubts about the nominee. Those doubts are likely magnified after evidence has surfaced contradicting some of Boggs' sworn testimony about a vote relating to abortion providers that he cast as a member of the Georgia House in 2001.

Ordinarily, a nominee's voting record as a legislator doesn't tell us how they would rule on issues as a judge. But Boggs is no ordinary nominee: When he was a Georgia House member running for election as a state judge in 2004, he assured voters at a judicial candidates' forum that his decisions as a state judge would conform to his positions as a legislator: "I am proud of my record. You don't have to guess where I stand – I oppose same-sex marriages. I supported and authored the Child Protection Act to protect children from predators. I have a record that tells you exactly what I stand for." His misunderstanding of the role of the courts and of judges goes to the heart of whether he is qualified to be confirmed to a lifetime federal judgeship. It also makes his legislative record directly relevant.

In 2001, he voted for a floor amendment to add information about the number of abortions performed by a doctor to public profiles maintained by the state. No other specific procedure would have had to be listed. This was at a time of significant public concern and reporting on violence against doctors who provide abortions. At his confirmation hearing, Boggs repudiated the provision and said he hadn't had time to study it, so he didn't know that there was a risk of violence inherent in the amendment, an explanation that some senators seemed to find hard to believe.

A new report from Huffington Post's Jennifer Bendery casts doubt on Boggs' assertion of ignorance:

[At his confirmation hearing, Boggs] made the case that he had no idea of the public safety risks associated with one controversial measure he voted for that would have required doctors who perform abortions to post their profiles online along with the number of abortions they'd performed every year.

But an audio recording of that March 2001 debate in the Georgia House, obtained Tuesday by The Huffington Post, makes it clear that legislators — including Boggs, who was serving at the time — knew what the amendment would do and why it was so dangerous. It had already been rejected by the Georgia Senate.

The recording, which is online, makes clear that legislators discussed the threats to abortion clinics and providers posed by the amendment. Yet Boggs voted for it.

If senators conclude that Boggs was not honest with them, that may be yet another reason to oppose the nomination.


judicial nominations, Lower Federal Courts, Michael Boggs