Civil Rights Groups Don't Want Boggs On Federal Court

State Sen. Vincent Fort cites Boggs' 2001 vote as a legislator on state flag

, Daily Report


Photo of Court of Appeals Judge Michael Boggs
Court of Appeals Judge Michael Boggs has been proposed for a seat on the U.S. District Court in Atlanta.

Representatives of several civil rights organizations on Friday called on the White House to remove state Court of Appeals Judge Michael Boggs from a list of expected nominees to the federal bench in Georgia. Their objection to Boggs stems from his vote in 2001 as a state legislator from Waycross to retain Georgia's old state flag, which was embedded with the Confederate battle emblem.

At a news conference in front of the Richard Russell Federal Building in downtown Atlanta, State Sen. Vincent Fort, D-Atlanta, called on President Obama to drop Boggs from consideration for a federal judgeship in Atlanta.

"Michael Boggs, when he was a state legislator, voted against changing the Georgia flag with the Confederate emblem on it," Fort said. "He voted for the Confederate flag…. We are very concerned that a judge, while a legislator, in the 21st century, voted for the Confederate flag. It is reasonable for the public to be concerned about whether he is committed to fairness…. We think it is not right for this man to sit on the federal bench."

Boggs could not be reached for comment. Nominees for federal judgeships usually avoid public comment under protocols set by the White House and Congress.

Fort and other speakers at the news conference declined to name anyone who they think should be considered as Boggs' replacement on the list.

Speakers at Friday's news conference included State Senate Minority Leader Steve Henson; Helen Butler, executive director of the Georgia Coalition for the People's Agenda; Mary Ross, interim executive director of the NAACP Atlanta branch; attorney Francys Johnson, state president of the NAACP of Georgia; and Amanda Hill-Attkisson, program director of Georgia Women's Action for New Directions. They criticized the lack of transparency in a largely secret selection process that they say has shut out minorities while allowing the state's Republican U.S. senators too much latitude to name candidates who would reflect a judicial philosophy far more conservative than President Obama's.

They criticized the list of five recommended nominees and one current nominee – all of whom have been submitted to the White House with the approval of U.S. Senators Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson – for including only one African-American.

Their complaints echoed those of Georgia's five Democratic House members, who last week met with White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler and Christopher Kang, senior counsel to the president, after sending a letter expressing their "shock and disappointment" over the list, which contains four Republican selections and two by Democrats.

Georgia lawyers familiar with the nomination process who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the negotiations have told the Daily Report that the proposed nominees for two open seats on the Eleventh Circuit are:

• Jill Pryor, a partner at Atlanta's Bondurant, Mixson & Elmore.

What's being said

  • Rich

    Am i missing something, Barack Obama won TWO elections, and with that comes the privilege of nominating people to the various courts....President Obama, like the white presidents before him, is fully entitled to make judicial appointments...

  • No one wants Mike Boggs on the Federal Bench. He's a Federalist Society / Alec-sponsored shill of an empty vessel. He's of the same old warmed-up John Birch Society ilk that Bob Dylan was singing about 50 years ago. (Not that we're going in the wrong direction or anything.)

    Judge Julie Carnes forced the state's best chance at deciding some fair, decent, and practical precedential foreclosure law to the Georgia Supreme Court in the form of three certified "When did you stop beating your wife" questions. The decision that resulted from Judge Carnes' "complex question fallacy," handed down on May 20, 2013, You v JP Morgan Chase, will be mocked and laughed about throughout our nation's law schools for years to come.

    (By the way--could we all chip and purchase for the Georgia Supreme Court a set of Georgia Official Code Books that don't have Articles 3 and 9 of the UCC ripped out?)

    Georgia Supreme Court Justice Blackwell, an un-elected, Federalist Society, American Bankers Association and Mortgage Bankers Association of Georgia bought-and-paid-for shill, was quietly forced upon us by Governor Nathan Deal. Judge Blackwell, had he a shred of ethics, would have recused himself from the You v JP Morgan case, as he was the Appellate judge who wrote the dissenting opinion in the very well-reasoned, precedent-setting, Reese v Provident Funding.

    And a well-qualified, fair, and thoughtful judge like Linda Walker stays put at the level of Magistrate judge? This is shameful. I weep for my state.

    Wake up, Georgia voters. Judicial nominations and elections are important. Alec has infiltrated our General Assembly and The Federalist Society is quickly working its way through our judiciary.

    We, the people, are relinquishing control to moneyed interests. Please don't let this happen.

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