The nomination of far-right conservative Michael Boggs to the federal bench

(An alternate reality parable)

Dateline: Yam 4102, The Times MirrorWorld Gazette

Majority Republican Senators have threatened to oppose one of President John McCain’s nominees for the federal judiciary.

Throughout his terms in office and despite his party holding a majority of the Senate, McCain has faced numerous Democratic party filibusters of his nominees at all levels. This continued to the point where Republicans drastically restricted the use of minority Senate Democrat filibusters for some nominees, but the practice of ‘red slips’ continued to hold sway.

The use of ‘red slips’ is nowhere mandated in law or Senate rules, but was adopted on an informal basis some years back by Senate Republicans as a way to give a Senator from any given state a personal veto over judicial nominees. After having their filibuster abilities curtailed, Democratic Senators seized on the red slips practice and have used it aggressively ever since, blocking nearly all of President McCain’s judicial nominees, at all levels.

Even Chief Justice Elizabeth Warren — nominated to the Supreme Court by McCain’s predecessor, President Gore — has denounced Senate Democrats’ behavior as recklessly irresponsible and endangering the ability of the entire judiciary to operate as a co-equal branch of government.

In response to repeated red slips from Illinois Senators Barack Obama and Dick Durbin, McCain has nominated an outspoken far left liberal state judge for for a lifetime appointment as a federal judge. The deal is said to be so that four other district judges and two federal circuit court picks will be permitted confirmation votes by the minority Senate Democrats.

McCain’s ‘compromise’ nominee is Illinois Court of Appeals Justice Michelle Biggs:

  • She is an outspoken advocate for abortion  and contraceptive rights, and voted several times against fetal ‘person-hood’ bills and amendments.
  • She supported a measure which would have, for the sake of personal safety, outlawed the public posting of the names of doctors who perform legal abortions.
  • Additionally, she wanted to outlaw deceptive advertising by anti-abortion groups pretending to provide pregnancy services and ban any form of state funding for these ‘crisis pregnancy centers.’
  • Although a registered Republican, she ran for and served in the Illinois state legislature with fliers proclaiming she would oppose her party’s conservative positions and fight to represent liberal Unitarian Church ideals, as well as the rights of non-Christian Americans.
  • She is on record as saying the Boy Scouts should be compelled to allow both gay scouts and leaders.
  • She is 100% behind marriage equality rights for gay and lesbian couples, and favors a national law to make gay marriage the law of the land throughout the country, and voted twice in favor of an Illinois state constitutional amendment to legalize same-sex marriage in the state.
  • Biggs has said she believes no religion’s symbols or statements belong on public or government property.
  • She supports a federal ban on so-called ‘voluntary prayer’ in public schools, labeling them inherently coercive in intent and practice.
  • And finally, she favors a ban on the Confederate flag in any governmental use or capacity as a symbol, referring to it as a symbol of division and rebelli–… (brrzzt! crackle! hshhhhhhhhh!)

{{{Boop!}}} (…signal lost…cannot re-acquire…) 

Looks like the wormhole portal to MirrorWorld has just collapsed.

Meanwhile, in our version of reality…

Yeah, meanwhile in our reality, we have the other scenario.

President Obama, in exchange for the Senate minority Republicans allowing votes on six of his judicial nominees in the Democratic majority Senate, has nominated a far, far right conservative for the federal bench, Michael P. Boggs.

Georgia State Judge Michael Boggs, Obama nominee for federal judge position

Georgia State Judge Michael Boggs, Obama nominee for federal judge position

Supposedly though, the original deal was for three hand-picked GOP judicial nominees, in exchange for ending the GOP’s 2013 filibuster of Obama’s nomination of Jill Pryor for the 11th Circuit.

That MirrorWorld practice of ‘red slips’ is called ‘blue slips’ here, and other than the color and the parties being reversed, it’s otherwise exactly as described.

All those things I listed above as being the positions of the fictional MirrorWorld McCain nominee Michelle Biggs? Michael Boggs believes the exact opposite.

Currently serving as a judge in the Georgia Court of Appeals, Michael Boggs also served in the Georgia State House of Representatives — as a hyper-conservative Democrat — from 2001 to 2004.

Although a registered Democrat, Boggs ran campaign fliers insisting he’d be as conservative as could be, oppose his own party on any issue deviating from toe-the-line conservatism, and would stand up totally for conservative Christian values.

During Biggs’ time in office, he:

  • Co-sponsored the ‘Choose Life’ bill to allow for an anti-abortion political message to appear on people’s license plates, but which had no provisions for a pro-choice variant.
  • Voted in favor of state money for phony ‘crisis pregnancy centers’. Those ‘Choose Life’ license plates would have provided the funding.
  • Co-sponsored another bill requiring any female under the age of 18, even if emancipated or separated from her parents, to have a parent or legal guardian accompany her in person for any abortion procedures. (The bill did not pass.)
  • Voted to create a Georgia state-funded committee to consist of state politicians and the chairman of Georgia Right to Life, for the purpose of studying ‘post-abortion syndrome’ — a phony condition with no basis in legitimate medicine.
  • Voted twice in favor of an amendment to a bill on criminal penalties for child abuse to define children as “both born and unborn.”
  • Voted in favor of Georgia’s state constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, as well as any other legal arrangement similar to marriage, such as civil unions or domestic partnerships, including those performed elsewhere in the country.
  • Voted to keep the Confederate symbol on Georgia’s state flag.
  • Voted to require all Georgia county courthouses display the Ten Commandments.
  • Has said he favors the Boy Scouts banning gay scouts and leaders.
  • Says he favors ‘voluntary prayer’ to be allowed in schools, despite all the court cases showing such prayer, in practice, is almost never anything but Christian and coercive.

To his credit, Mr. Boggs has said he made a mistake when, while a Georgia state legislator, he favored a proposal to make public — on the Internet — the names of all doctors in the state who perform abortions. This particular lapse he excused by lamely claiming he wasn’t aware of violence and terroristic threats against abortion providers prior to his time in office.

Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) pressed Boggs on that point, suggesting that Boggs’ explanation didn’t quite add up. “You were a state legislator at the time and you weren’t aware of any of the public safety issues that were involved around this whole issue?” Franken asked. “Doctors were murdered for this, and yet you were not aware of that at all?”

“I wasn’t,” Boggs said. “That was probably attributable to the fact that this was a floor amendment to a bill … and not something that I had an opportunity to study.”

Yeah, right. More details and documentation on the items above are here.

I have to ask this: Can anybody here, especially regular AmericaBlog readers, imagine any Republican President from Reagan through Bush and Bush-the-Lesser and to the fictional MirrorWorld President McCain, deliberately nominating a far-left liberal judge for a lifetime appointment to the federal bench?

I’m not talking about nominees who, upon being confirmed, turn out not to be as nearly conservative as their nominators would have liked. But an actual avowed liberal.

Would they ever set aside the usual GOP litmus tests requiring a total public commitment to opposing reproductive rights and gay rights? Or being in favor of an impenetrable wall between Church and State?

I don’t think so.


Published professional writer and poet, Becca had a three decade career in technical writing and consulting before selling off most of her possessions in 2006 to go live at an ashram in India for 3 years. She loves literature (especially science fiction), technology and science, progressive politics, cool electronic gadgets, and perfecting Hatch green chile recipes. Fortunately for this last, Becca and her wife currently live in New Mexico. @BeccaMorn

Share This Post

  • bobbyhansonf898

    sterven…

  • sunshipballoons

    You need a history lesson.

  • MackKnife

    Biggs is no conservative–he is a big government free spending democrat who happens to share the convictions on some social issues that most democrats did as recent as 15 to 20 years ago.

  • 2karmanot

    But it feels so good, like pressing bruises.

  • MyrddinWilt

    The problem here is Leahy who idiotically plays by the rules the GOP themselves tore up. Get rid of the blue slip rule and nominate a slate of ACLU lawyers for every remaining judgeship.

    The fault if Boggs gets nominated however is ours. This isn’t a nomination being put up because any Dem things this racist jerk should be on the bench. And the fact that the GOP deal is idiotically one sided is a strong hint here: Four goose-stepping NAZIs to two centrists! Thats not a deal, thats stupidity. Obama ain’t stupid so there is something else going on. Most likely he wants to put pressure on the Senate to tear up the stupid blue slip rule.

    This isn’t a nomination, its a call to arms. It is our job to tell the senate ‘hell no’ and get the agreement torn up. And then the outcome is that either Leahy drops the blue slip rule or there are no judges appointed to the Georgia circuit till the outcome of the 2016 election.

    Don’t just get mad, tell your senator that you are mad. Or if your senator is a Republican call up Leahy’s office. Remember to be civil. This isn’t an exercise in persuasion, it is collecting evidence.

  • Ninja0980

    Patrick Leahy is more at fault here, as he won’t do away with the Blue Slip like Republicans did when they were in control.
    That is why Obama had to make the “deal” that he made.

  • Ninja0980

    They do but not very often. Bush Jr. was forced to do at the start and end of his term when Democrats controlled the Senate, hence why Roger Gregory is still on the 4th circuit despite being a recess appointment by Clinton.
    They do it far, far less the Democrats do and they always will.

  • Max_1

    Mediocracy…

  • Max_1

    He should be impeached…
    Torture
    Drones
    Due process
    Spying
    Lying to the Supreme Court
    Obstruction of Justice in the Senate

  • pappyvet

    Brilliant piece Becca !

  • Ninja0980

    Not that I want to defend the pick of Boggs in any way shape or form but yes, when he was forced to at the start of his term and at the end, Bush picked some nominees that where moderate to left of center.
    Roger Gregory of the 4th circuit, whom we all got to know last week during the marriage equality debate is the best example of that.
    On the blue slip, Republicans had no qualms about doing away with it when they were in control so why Leahy won’t is beyond me.

  • Bill_Perdue

    Correct, that does apply to the two right wing parties but the rich don’t and won’t have much say in the internal life of leftist and workers parties and mass movements for change led by the labor left and socialists.

    The focal point for now is the demand for a real minimum wage beginning at $15.00. Many workers at Walmart and fast food outlets are pushing for a living wage, 40 hours a week and benefits. And the AFL-CIO is fully behind the fight end end the Obama regimes racist treatment of imported and immigrant workers.

    Movements like that will change politics in the US like nothing since the rise of the CIO.

  • ComradeRutherford

    Well, the Powers That Be simply won’t allow that. Everyone since JFK has been pre-approved as a corporatist first. They’ll either Howard Dean or JFK any front-runner they don’t like.

  • ComradeRutherford

    “we now know him for the Wall Street toady he is.”

    Um, yeah, I knew about that in 2007, which is why I never voted for him… Just like I can never bring myself to vote for a Clinton, either…

  • Moderator3

    It was poorly translated spam.

  • lynchie

    ???????

  • lynchie

    He doesn’t want to go against his handlers, the banks, wall street and the 1% got keep those contributions to his library rolling in and don’t forget his offshore retirement account.

  • lynchie

    The 1% strike again. O’Highness is so transparently right of Regan as to be laughable.

  • Zorba

    I just had a sort of a waking dream.
    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Obama were to nominate another federal judge such as District Judge Michael J. McShane (the federal District Judge who just struck down Oregon’s Constitutional Amendment that banned gay marriage), rather than someone like Michael P. Boggs?
    After all, Obama did nominate McShane in 2012. Why can’t he do the same now?
    This kowtowing to the Republicans drives me crazy, and also confirms my original opinion of Obama (formed way back when he was running for the U.S. Senate in Illinois) that he was just another way right-of-center, DLC-type neo-liberal.

  • Bill_Perdue

    “The truth of the matter is that my policies are so mainstream that if I had set the same policies that I had back in the 1980s, I would be considered a moderate Republican,” he told Noticias Univision 23 in a White House interview.

    http://thehill.com/policy/finance/272957-obama-says-his-economic-policies-so-mainstream-hed-be-seen-as-moderate-republican-in-1980s

  • Max_1

    Becca,
    Why won’t Obama nominate a Liberal Judge?
    Silly to question if Republicans will do what Obama refuses to do, IMO.

  • Max_1

    The rhetorical question shouldn’t be, will Republicans nominate a Liberal…
    … The Rhetorical question, Becca, is – WHY WONT OBAMA?

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    Republicans never compromise. Democrats eventually will. Republicans know this and it’s how they pretty much always get their way. Even something they rail against like Obamacare was a Republican plan. That’s how our politics work. Democrats offer the Republicans what used to be their position and the GOP moves their demands even further to the right.

    One day the Democrats will grow a backbone. I should live that long.

  • Bill_Perdue

    People who swim in the sewers of Democrat or Republican politics often end up stinking to high heaven. I hope Sanders gets a grip.

  • Bill_Perdue

    Exactly, and the conclusion is that we have to promote workers parties and socialist parties to educate and organized and turn the Democrat and Republican parties into Whigs.

  • dcinsider

    Stop criticizing Democrats ;)

  • cole3244

    i’m not positive but i believe that leahy as chairman of the committee has the call on this at least that’s my understanding.

  • MichaelS

    Once again Obama has confirmed that he is the conservative wolf in progressive sheep’s clothing. I worked to elect him, and I’m so fed up that now I could even back a Republican impeachment effort to oust him.

  • ComradeRutherford

    Sadly, yes. Obama is a New Democrat, or Neo-Liberal…

    When asked what her single greatest achievement was as Prime Minister of the UK, Maggie Thatcher replied instantly, “New Labour!” What she meant was that she got The Left to drop everything they’d ever stood for for decades (that being We, The People) and join the pro-business right wing. Saint Reagan did the same thing here in the USA. Under Reagan, the Democratic Party abandoned the party membership and joined forces with Big Business. So our two parties now represent two factions of the Business Class in their combined front against We, The People.

  • jomicur

    Well, after all, the Obamabots kept telling us we’d see the real Obama after he was elected for a second term. They were right.

  • jomicur

    Well, Obama has done one positive thing. He has laid to rest once and for all the lame argument that we absolutely, really, really, truly have to vote Democratic to protect the judiciary from conservatives. On behalf of third-party progressives everywhere, I’d like to thank you, Mr. President.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Just had a funny thought: It’ll probably be mere days before we have another drive-by troll who will insist we — John’s bloggers and the post commenters — never criticize the Democrats.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    Exactly why I don’t buy much into his progressivism. He talks a big talk, but when it comes to actually laying it on the line, he’s just a centrist with left-leaning sympathies. The rules of the Senate allow one senator to obstruct anything, without even admitting publicly that they’re the ones obstructing. The Republicans have abused this power countless times since Obama’s election… Sanders? Never. I’m sure he doesn’t want to feel like he’s stooping to their level, but when your opponent is fighting dirty already, and fired their millionth salvo at you, you’re already at their level. If you don’t use the tools at your disposal, you’re just useless.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    Schumer with even more control is really quite a revolting thought… and he’s ten years younger than Reid, he could be in there a long time.

  • Bill_Perdue

    Sanders has better positions on many subjects but he caucuses with the Democrats instead of taking the lead. He’s not doing much of worth.

  • Ford Prefect

    It would be great if we could just blame one or two people for this problem, but it’s really a solid majority of the Senate Democratic Caucus. The rules are passed on a vote of the Senate, which means they can’t pass without the vast majority of Senate Dems voting “Aye.” In this sense, Sanders doesn’t count, since he’s not a Democrat at all. Other more villainous types would include Chuck Schumer, DiFi and so on.

    I do think there is reason to have doubts about Sanders, but he’s nothing compared to Schumer, Feinstein et al. They’re the real drivers of this bi-partisan bullshit. When Reid retires, Schumer becomes Democratic Leader in the Senate.

  • Bill_Perdue

    Obama is a Democrat and that’s the problem that anyone who’s still swims in that political swamp has to face.

    The whole party leadership is marching in goosestep to the right and that includes rightists like Kucinich who voted for Obama’s health care scam, Elizabeth Warren, who voted for an Obot billionaire to Dept of Commerce and racists like Obama who’s deported over two million imported and immigrant people fleeing from the effects of Bill Clintons NAFTA and similar FTAs.

  • Ford Prefect

    Indeed it is. When it comes to passing noxious, toxic or otherwise fascistic legislation, gridlock always disappears in a warm buy-partisan glow. But when it comes to doing anything that might benefit the common people, it can always be relied upon as the Democrats’ defense against public perceptions.

    You might like this brief essay, called, “Corruption As Duplicitous Exclusion.” It rather addresses this process the Party uses all the time:

    https://www.apsanet.org/imgtest/PSOct06Warren.pdf

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    We definitely need to make sure to not omit Harry Reid’s complicity in this. He has had every chance in the world to hold Republicans accountable for their obstruction, and has chosen not to bother himself. Democrats need to pull from the Republican playbook and stop this dead in its tracks. All it should take is one Senator. I wouldn’t count on cowards like Reid, but if someone like Bernie Sanders doesn’t stop it, he’ll just be proving my bad feeling about him all along.

  • suzane carter

    Zero, there is not. Specifically considering that, while GOPers ended up the majority gathering within the Chair for economic council definitely not a large number of in the past, one of several 1st issues they put available was the Dems’ azure slide exercise.

    It’s such as the Dems are volunteering to get used hostage. And that is one more position upon the reason why I’ve truly lengthy considering that concluded that a substantial part of the so-called ‘gridlock’ in Our lawmakers can be mutually arranged.
    http://bit.ly/1taIBlK

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    True enough — but that was way back in 1991, and Bush I wasn’t nearly as hard-right conservative as his predecessor or his son. And the agreement between Moynihan and D’Amato was an informal one, not an institutional Senate practice.

    What’s notable about Sotomayor is all the articles about her label her a ‘centrist.’ Not a liberal or progressive — except in GOP/Fox propaganda, which cherry-picked among her many years of rulings from the bench.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonia_Sotomayor

  • ComradeRutherford

    Obama, not being a Democrat at all, has given up on nominating his right-of-center moderates that the GOP has continually blocked just because they can, and so Obama has started nominating right-wing extremists. Why not? No one is surprised by this, right?

  • cole3244

    the repugnants removed it during the bush years and (leahy gop light) brought it back because he respects the senates power more than america, the dems are part of the problem not part of the solution.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    No, there isn’t. Especially since, while the GOPers were the majority party in the Senate not that many years ago, one of the very first things they threw out was the Dems’ blue slip practice.

    It’s like the Dems are volunteering to be held hostage. Which is yet another angle on why I’ve long since concluded that a significant portion of the so-called ‘gridlock’ in Congress is mutually agreed upon.

  • Ford Prefect

    Then there’s no real reason to respect it, is there?

  • txiconoclast

    Deliberately nominating, not sure, but I do recall a deal during Bush 41’s term involving NY Senators Moynihan and D’Amato. As the story goes, it was when the Senate was under Democratic control and a deal was struck between the two Senators. D’Amato would give Moynihan deference for one out of every four New York district court seats. One of these deferences was Sonia Sotomayor.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I checked: The ‘blue slip’ practice is not even a Senate rule.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Seems like, aye.

  • Monophylos Fortikos

    And Boggs is so far to the right, I’m still trying to figure out why he even bothered to run as a Democrat in his GA district in 2000.

    Maybe he took Zell Miller’s hobbyhorse out for a spin one day and decided he’d like to ride it himself?

  • Ford Prefect

    No. Senate rules are written by the majority party at the beginning of each congress. The minority has a veto in the Senate because the Democrats, led by Harry Reid, make sure they have that veto. They can take it away at any time, but they refuse to.

  • Indigo

    Right, but he he did not go with a moderate, he went with whom his boss told him to. Now we come to the crux of the matter, who is Barry’s boss? I mean, this current round of nonsense didn’t come from Valerie Jarrett did it?

  • dcinsider

    Your point is one that had occurred to me as well. Republicans NEVER knowingly nominate liberals or even moderates to the bench. They focus on litmus test conservatives, who are all over the federal bench today wreaking havoc. Don’t let the marriage equality decisions fool you. At both trial and appellate levels, these conservatives rule the roost.

    It is little surprise given the number of bush holdovers (see Social Security) that have been permitted to stay in sensitive policy driven political positions for over five years now. And those who remain behind ARE NOT converts to the cause, but are dyed in the wool conservatives continuing to pursue the conservative agenda from within the Obama Administration. It’s unheard of.

    Case in point, if you need one, is Deputy SSA Administrator Glenn Sklar. Appointed by Republicans he is as anti-federal employee as they come, yet he remains in place and the White House is clueless to the havoc he wreaks.

    So Obama finally appoints a real conservative, and we find this surprising because . . . ?

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    The ‘blue slip’ practice, as reintroduced and insisted upon by Senator Leahy (D), is the entire reason the Senate-minority Republicans have their veto in the first place.

    As I remarked in the post: It’s not a Senate rule. There is no law. It was a ‘courtesy’ which of course in the last 20-odd years has turned into an anti-democratic (small-d) farce. If anything, it’s even worse than the filibuster, because it gives an absolute veto on judicial nominations to just the two Senators for any given state.

    Heck, it used to be only one ‘blue slip’ was required from one of the two Senators from the state in question. Now, by Dem leadership insistence, it has to be both.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Wall Street toady is one thing. We haven’t had a solid “people over corporations” president since FDR. Maybe LBJ.

    Here, we’re talking social policies. And Boggs is so far to the right, I’m still trying to figure out why he even bothered to run as a Democrat in his GA district in 2000. Or why, out of all the possible judgeship possibilities out there, Obama had to go with this guy. I mean, there are (still, incredibly) moderate-right Republicans who aren’t as ultra conservative as Boggs.

  • Indigo

    Barry’s not up for re-election so he can pretty well play the game the way he wants. Accordingly, we now know him for the Wall Street toady he is.

  • cole3244

    obama as usual would rather negotiate than fight for his principles if he has any other than getting elected.

    sen leahy by reintroducing the blue slip to give gop senators the right of individual consent cares more about his gop colleagues than he does about america and the health of our democracy, he’s just another among a host of dems who are charlatans and are cons cloaked in blue garb.

    we on the left have as many enemies on the dem side as the gop they are just not as visible or transparent with their agenda.

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