Michael Bogren, a Trump judicial nominee, is withdrawing from consideration amid a Republican backlash, according to three sources familiar with the matter.
Bogren, who was nominated to the district court for the Western District of Michigan, faced growing opposition from Republican senators. Three Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee — Josh Hawley of Missouri, Ted Cruz of Texas and Thom Tillis of North Carolina — had all said they would oppose his nomination and more were expected to emerge. He also faced criticism from conservative advocacy groups like the Judicial Crisis Network, Heritage Action and Conservative Action Project.
Bogren’s withdrawal is a rare and embarrassing setback for the White House, which has had little trouble getting the GOP-controlled Senate to confirm President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees.
Bogren and the White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
At issue was a brief Bogren signed off while defending the City of East Lansing against a Catholic couple that opposed same-sex marriage. The couple was barred from East Lansing's farmers market after they refused to a host a same-sex marriage on their farm citing religious beliefs. In response, the couple sued.
The City of East Lansing’s brief defending its position used analogies involving the White Camelia Knights of the KKK and imams who do not believe women should drive. Those analogies offended Senate Republicans — particularly Hawley, who grilled Bogren on his views at a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing.
Unlike many Trump judicial nominees, Bogren did have the backing of his Democratic home-state Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters.
Bogren is a managing partner at Plunkett Cooney.