The U.S. Senate confirmed a former Las Vegas NAACP officer and federal public defender, to serve as a district judge in Las Vegas Tuesday.
Richard F. Boulware II was confirmed by a 58-35 vote and in spite of early opposition from Republicans who questioned his experience and ability to be impartial.
Boulware, 45, represented the NAACP on 14 occasions before the state Legislature, on bills related to voting rights, solitary confinement, cameras in police cars, racial profiling and other issues.
During his Senate hearing process, senators questioned Boulware about statements he made critical of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2012 decision in ShelbyCounty v. Holder, which declared a portion of the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional and no longer allowed as the basis for requiring some states and jurisdictions to gain clearance from the Justice Department to change voting law.
Boulware told the Judiciary Committee in February that he would follow Shelby. He said his statements came in his role as an NAACP officer. “As a policy matter, the NAACP is committed to seeking to expand opportunities for all citizens to be able to vote,” he said.
Boulware was also questioned about same-sex marriage and his willingness to follow the Supreme Court’s Windsor decision, giving inheritance rights to a legally married lesbian widow. Boulware said he would follow precedent, but declined to elaborate due to a Nevada same-sex marriage case currently pending before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Boulware served as an assistant federal defender in both New York and Nevada since 2003. He has been a federal defender in Nevada since 2007. He was an officer for the NAACP between 2008 and 2013.
His career has largely been representing criminal defendants and he has little civil experience.
He is a native of Rochester, Minnesota and received his law degree from ColumbiaLawSchool in 2002. He received an undergraduate degree from HarvardCollege in 1993.
He served as a law clerk for U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in the Southern District of New York from 2002 to 2003.