Fourteen years after first being nominated to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, controversial US District Court Judge Terrence Boyle will face a vote on the Senate floor. Boyle was first nominated by President George H. W. Bush in 1991, but Democrats blocked the nomination, setting off a chain of events in which former Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC) blocked Clinton-era appointees from North Carolina for eight years. Boyle had previously worked as an aide to Senator Helms. Boyle was voted out of committee on Thursday, meaning his nomination will move to a vote on the Senate floor.
Democrats have said that the party-line committee vote makes a filibuster of Boyle a possibility, although they have not said whether they intend to filibuster this nomination. According to the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, Boyle’s rulings have been overturned by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals more than 150 times, and he has issued numerous opinions hostile to affirmative action, women’s rights, fair employment, and voting rights. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) told the Associated Press that he could not see approving the nomination, as “it really appears that he’s not a very good district court judge.”