Updated 4:20 p.m. | President Barack Obama still supports the nomination of Michael P. Boggs for a federal judgeship in Georgia, even though Sen. Patrick J. Leahy told The New York Times there aren't enough votes for confirmation.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters at Monday's briefing that the president still supports Boggs and said the president was not considering withdrawing the pick despite the report quoting Leahy, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee and a Vermont Democrat.
Leahy confirmed his statement to CQ Roll Call Monday, and said he also spoke to the two Georgia Republican senators backing Boggs — Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss.
“After talking with Judiciary Committee members, I advised the Georgia Senators that Judge Boggs does not have the votes in committee to be reported. His nomination should be withdrawn," Leahy said in a statement late Monday.
The nomination of Boggs, a Democrat, has been extremely controversial, with numerous liberal groups blasting the pick as well as Georgia Democrats, led by Rep. David Scott, who has ripped Boggs' record as a state legislator on the Confederate flag, abortion and other issues. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., came under fire recently after indicating to CQ Roll Call he would vote for Boggs . He later declared he was undecided .
The White House has defended the pick, noting that it was part of a larger deal to secure support of Georgia's two Republican senators for a full slate of judicial nominees in Georgia. The White House has continued to stand by that deal, and giving up on it could have consequences for the administration's ability to move other judicial nominees, given the Senate's "blue slip" process, which requires the backing of home-state senators for judicial nominations in their states.
Todd Ruger contributed to this report. Related stories: Michael P. Boggs Disavows His Votes on Confederate Flag, Abortion Nasty Nomination Fight for Obama: Michael Boggs on the Hot Seat Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.