Seven Georgians nominated to spots on the federal bench by the Obama administration went before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.
State Court of Appeals Judge Michael Boggs, up for a federal district judgeship, received the harshest grilling, in large part for his 2001 vote against removing the 1956-era state flag with its Confederate battle emblem.
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Boggs was questioned repeatedly about his support for anti-abortion measures, his vote opposing the removal of the Confederate battle emblem from the state flag and his support for an amendment banning same-sex marriage while a state legislator in the early 2000s. But he repeatedly said his would not let his Christian faith or personal views influence his decisions as a judge.
“It wouldn’t implicate my decision-making at all,” Boggs said.
On his support of the amendment to ban same-sex marriage, Boggs acknowledged that was his “personal opinion” at the time and the will of his constituents. “My position on that … may or may not have changed since that time, as many people’s have over the past decade,” he added.
On his vote against removing the Confederate battle emblem, Boggs said he followed his constituents’ wishes because they supported having a referendum to decide what Georgia’s flag should look like.
Boggs said he was “offended” by the Confederate emblem on the flag and knew it was a reminder of the institution of slavery and was used by hate groups that espoused “overt racism.” He said he agonized over the issue and voted against his personal conscience when voting against the emblem’s removal.
“I’m glad the flag was changed,” Boggs said. “It reflected something Georgia could do better with.”