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Hullabaloo


Friday, February 14, 2014

 
What, was Harriet Miers unavailable? (Or was she too liberal ...)

by digby

What's one more wingnut on the bench, eh?
President Barack Obama has now infuriated abortion rights advocates, civil rights leaders and Democratic lawmakers in his push to confirm a Georgia judicial nominee they argue is too socially conservative.

NARAL Pro-Choice America announced Wednesday that it is launching a new campaign to defeat Georgia state Judge Michael Boggs, whom Obama nominated in December to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. The group is alarmed by votes that Boggs took -- as a state legislator in the early 2000s -- to "channel funds to anti-choice crisis pregnancy centers and make a parental consent law even more extreme," according a petition emailed to NARAL supporters.

"We’re disappointed that pro-choice President Obama nominated someone who doesn’t share our pro-choice values. We agree with the president on a lot of things, but not this pick," reads the email. "Speak out now and call on your senators to oppose a nominee who can’t be trusted with our rights."

Boggs has already come under fire from civil rights icons Joseph Lowery and Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) -- both of whom were awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Obama -- for a vote Boggs took in opposition to removing the Confederate insignia from Georgia's flag. They teamed up with Georgia's Democratic congressional lawmakers in December to urge Obama to rescind Boggs' nomination and start the process over.
If you are wondering if it matters, it does. And here's why: Republican presidents appoint extremely ideologically conservative judges to the federal bench while the Democrats appoint mushy centrists and conservatives. Every once in a while a liberal might get through. I'm sure you can see the problem with that, even accounting for a gridlocked Senate.
Judges appointed by President George W. Bush are the most conservative on record when it comes to civil rights and liberties, according to a new study by a political science professor at the University of Houston.

Bush judicial appointees are significantly more conservative than even the very conservative voting record of jurists appointed by Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bush Sr. in the realm of civil rights and liberties, said Robert Carp, professor of political science at UH. When it comes to these decisions, the Bush team is a full 5 percentage points more conservative than even the trial judges appointed by Presidents Reagan and Bush Sr.

“Liberal” judges would generally seek in their rulings to extend the freedoms of abortion, gay rights, the rights of women and minorities and freedom of speech, Carp explained. “Conservative” jurists, by contrast, would prefer to limit such rights.

In a previous study that was released in August 2004, Carp and his team of researchers predicted that if Bush was re-elected that year, the federal judiciary could take on an even sharper conservative slant. At the time, Bush’s judicial appointees delivered liberal decisions 27.9 percent of the time in cases involving civil liberties and rights. For this latest study, researchers analyzed more data, and the figure has dropped to 27.2 percent.
[...]
In the earlier study, the voting record of the Bush judges in the area of Labor and Economic regulation was fairly moderate. The latest study that relies on a larger data set indicates that the Bush judges are very conservative in this issue area as well and could not be called “moderate” in their voting behavior.
Recall that Bush didn't start appointing hard core leftists in response to Democratic judicial filibusters. The Democrats managed to keep a few of the most outrageous far right zealots off, but most of his choices got through. So it's not as if there aren't a whole bunch of right wingers already on the bench. Bush packed the judiciary with them.

This White House, on the other hand,  says they have to nominate a far right wingnut and some moderates from Georgia in order to break a GOP created log jam. Isn't that always the way?


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