Sunday, January 5, 2014

A Judicial Nominee's Troublesome Legislative Record

Following a secretive and highly-flawed process, the White House recently announced a deeply troublesome slate of nominees for the Eleventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. Several elected officials and community leaders and organizations have questioned whether the recent nominees truly embody the progressive legacy that would be expected from this Administration. 
 
They point, for example, to Michael Boggs, who currently serves on the Georgia Court of Appeals, but who served in the Georgia General Assembly from 2001 through 2004. 
 
According to research by State Senator Vincent Fort, Boggs' significant votes as a legislator, from a constituency far-removed from the Northern District of Georgia, included the following:
 
Marriage Equality.  Boggs voted for the legislation authorizing the referendum on the constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Georgia. SR 595, March 31, 2004.
 
Women's Rights: Boggs co-sponsored legislation requiring parental notification and to start a Choose Life Program.
  • Parental Notification: These measures made it more difficult for young women seeking health care to obtain the services they need by requiring their parent to be notified.
Information and statistics show that young women seeking reproductive health care DO inform an adult. While young women may not tell the parents (due to the shame of possible sexual abuse), they do seek the guidance of an adult, such as an aunt, grandmother or adult friend. 
These restrictive laws are part of a larger effort to curtail women's access to reproductive health care. They are meant to frighten young women in an attempt to force them to carry an unplanned pregnancy to term. HB 466, 2003-2004 Session. The legislation did not pass.
  • Choose Life Programs and Car Tags. Using the state's law to create special license tags, conservative extremists attempted to use the Department of Motor Vehicles to create a funding stream for programs that deny access to women's health care. Money from the purchase of a Choose Life license plate would have provided backdoor funding for a specific political policy agenda.  HB 286, 2003-2004 Session. The legislation did not pass.
 
The State Flag. Boggs voted against legislation removing the Confederate Emblem from the Georgia State Flag. HB 16, January 24, 2001.
 
Rev. Joseph Lowery has observed that Boggs is part of a slate of nominees that is "not representative of the state."  It is certainly questionable whether Boggs' views are representative of the people of the Northern District of Georgia.

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