Influential Democrat latest to oppose Obama judge pick

WASHINGTON — A civil rights icon who rose to become an influential member of the House from Georgia became the latest Democrat on Monday to oppose one of President Barack Obama’s picks to become a federal judge from that state.

A three-paragraph statement by Rep. John Lewis was yet another blow to Michael Boggs, whom Obama selected to become a federal district judge. Last week Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he opposed Boggs’ nomination, and several Democratic senators have also criticized the pick.

As a Georgia state legislator a decade ago, Boggs opposed efforts to remove the Confederate battle insignia from the state flag and favored posting online information about doctors who provide abortions. He has also been a foe of same-sex marriage.

“His record is in direct opposition to everything I have stood for during my career,” Lewis said in his statement.

In the 1960’s, Lewis, was involved in sit-ins in segregated lunch counters and Freedom Rides at segregated bus terminals in the South. The biography on his House website saying he was beaten and arrested more than 40 times.

In the 1960’s he was a leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and was a speaker at the 1963 March on Washington. He is one of the House’s most respected members on the subject of civil rights.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has yet to vote on Boggs and is not expected to do so until at least June. It is unclear whether his nomination will survive.

“I do not have a vote in the Senate, but if I did I would vote against the confirmation of Michael Boggs,” Lewis said.

Obama nominated Boggs as a part of a deal with Georgia’s two senators to fill seven vacancies in that state’s federal bench.

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