Advance Notice: Briefs

Michigan attorney withdraws from Trump federal court nomination

By: - June 13, 2019 2:37 pm

Michigan attorney Michael Bogren is no longer being considered for a federal judicial position after previously being nominated by President Donald Trump.

Trump had nominated Bogren to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan. But the attorney faced backlash from Republicans who suggested he did not support the right to express religious beliefs, Politico and other outlets reported.

Prior to the withdrawal, three Republican members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee opposed his nomination and more GOP lawmakers were expected to agree, according to Politico.

GOP U.S. Sens. Josh Hawley of Missouri, Ted Cruz of Texas and Thom Tillis of North Carolina came out in opposition to Bogren’s nomination along with the Catholic League, Judicial Crisis Network and Family Research Council.

Bogren, a partner at Plunkett Cooney in Kalamazoo, wrote to the White House asking to be withdrawn from consideration after Senate Judiciary Republicans discovered a legal brief he had signed in defense of the city of East Lansing.

Catholic farmers that opposed same-sex marriage sued East Lansing after being barred from the city’s farmers market after refusing to allow a same-sex marriage on their farm in Charlotte, citing religious beliefs.

Republicans argued that the brief compared the situation to discrimination from the Ku Klux Klan and other groups.

At a Senate hearing, Hawley questioned Bogren.

“You did not compare the beliefs of a Catholic family to the KKK?” Hawley asked.

“The point I was trying to make is that religious beliefs, trying to justify discrimination, have extended to sexual orientation —  which the city of East Lansing protects — [and] could be used to try to justify any other sort of discrimination, whether it be gender or race,” Bogren said in response. “That was the comparison I was making.”

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Michael Gerstein
Michael Gerstein

Michael Gerstein is a former Advance reporter covering the Governor's office, criminal justice and the environment.