Civil rights legend Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., publicly repudiated President Barack Obama’s controversial judicial nominee Michael Boggs on Monday, calling his record “in direct opposition to everything I have stood for during my career.”
In his statement, Lewis expressed grave concern and caution in his decision to speak out. “I have tried to refrain from making public statements out of respect for my colleagues and the Senate process,” Lewis said. “I believe it is important to allow each candidate to be evaluated according to his or her own merits and to allow the Senate judicial nomination process to take its course.”
Boggs currently serves as a judge of the Georgia Court of Appeals. His record has drawn the scorn of many Democratic lawmakers, who have criticized President Obama for dealmaking gone awry. Inquiring minds wondered where Lewis, who had remained noticeably on the sidelines, stood.
Rep. David Scott, D-Ga., nearly disowned Lewis on Twitter on Sunday night after Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., claimed that Lewis had signaled his support for Boggs in a private conversation.
Last week, the Congressional Black Caucus sent an open letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid opposing Boggs. Lewis’ name appeared on the masthead, but his office hadn’t confirmed that he endorsed the letter.
As a former Georgia state legislator, Boggs cast votes in favor of a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, embedding a Confederate insignia on the Georgia state flag, and requiring abortion doctors to post their names and the number of abortions they performed online.
Ultimately, that concerned Lewis.
“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.”