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House Dem Calls Civil Rights Hero A 'Turncoat' In Battle Over Obama Pick

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AP Photo / Charles Dharapak

Rep. David Scott (D-GA) said civil rights hero Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) was "a turncoat who has betrayed African Americans, women and gays" if, as Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) suggested, Lewis gave his blessing to Boggs, who is under fire for his past votes as a Georgia state legislator, including one to keep the state's old Confederate battle flag.

Scott, an outspoken opponent of the nomination, was responding to Feinstein's comments on CNN that Lewis "felt that this was a good ticket" -- referring to the negotiated package of seven Obama nominees to Georgia courts, which included Boggs. Lewis has not spoken publicly about the nomination.

Reached by TPM, Scott spokesman Michael Andel defended the congressman's remarks and called on Lewis to speak out against Boggs before the Senate Judiciary Committee votes on him.

"Rep. Lewis will not make any public statements about the nomination and senators are saying his views will influence them to support or oppose the nomination. Others are saying that he has given approval, but this is the first media report of what we have been hearing for two weeks," Andel said, adding that Scott wants Lewis to speak out "[t]o stop the view in the Senate that he supports the Boggs’ nomination. The Committee vote can be any day now."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has signaled opposition to Boggs and suggested he'll seek advice from Lewis.

A Lewis spokeswoman didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Sahil Kapur is TPM's senior congressional reporter and Supreme Court correspondent. His articles have been published in the Huffington Post, The Guardian and The New Republic. Email him at sahil@talkingpointsmemo.com and follow him on Twitter at @sahilkapur.