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Wilmington Star-News: Richard Burr still stonewalling on judicial nomination

Richard Burr 2Senator Richard Burr’s one-man, secret filibuster of the nomination of federal prosecutor Jennifer May-Parker to serve as a U.S. District Court judge in North Carolina’s Eastern District continues. This is from this morning’s Wilmington Star-News:

“Jennifer May-Parker could make history as the first African-American U.S. District Court judge in the 44-county Eastern District of North Carolina and fill a vacancy that is nearly eight years old.

That is, if she can ever make it there.

President Obama appointed May-Parker to the bench in late June. May-Parker is currently chief of the Appellate Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District.

Both Sens. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., and Richard Burr, R-N.C., must take a procedural step and return a so-called “blue slip” on the nominee prior to her getting a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The blue slip is a piece of paper essentially asking the home-state senators if they support moving forward with the process. It is not necessarily an endorsement of the nominee, but requiring the blue slips to be returned is a long held practice of the committee, according to a judiciary committee aide.

Hagan has returned hers, but Burr is holding up the process – something called “blue slipping.”

As for why, well, Burr is not saying.”

As the story goes on to make clear, Burr’s behavior is, in a word, outrageous.  He won’t explain his actions publicly and will not even return calls from the Star-News reporter, Molly Parker.

As Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond in Virginia who closely tracks judicial appointments told Parker:

“When senators don’t respond with a blue slip they have an obligation to say why that is. The public is entitled to know.”

Let’s hope Burr’s constituents remind him soon of this basic rule regarding the relationships between elected officials and the people they serve.

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