As reported last September by N.C. Policy Watch Courts and Law Reporter Sharon McCloskey and noted again here and here, Senator Richard Burr has been blocking without explanation the nomination of federal prosecutor Jennifer May-Parker to fill a vacancy on the Federal District Court for the North Carolina’s Eastern District. May-Parker, who would be the first African-American and only the second woman to serve on Eastern District bench, was first nominated by President Obama last June but has yet to receive a hearing in the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee because Burr has refused to sign off by returning his “blue slip” to the committee (as is required by Senate practice and tradition).
Happily, it does not appear that the White House will be backing down from the nomination as the President resubmittted May-Parker’s name (along with several other nominees) on Monday.
Perhaps part of the reason for the resubmission of the nomination was the recent coming to light of a letter from 2009 (reported by The Huffington Post) in which Burr explicitly endorsed May-Parker for the seat! Apparently, the White House has concluded that Senator Burr cannot maintain such a blatantly disingenuous stance and stonewall the nomination in silence much longer without drawing significant negative attention from North Carolinians.
Let’s hope the President and his team are right and that Senator Burr comes to his senses and endorses May-Parker right away. At a bare minimum, he needs to publicly address and explain his complete flipflop on the matter as soon as possible or face real questions about his honesty and integrity.