It’s hard to know what’s worse when it comes to Senator Richard Burr’s ongoing, one-man filibuster of the woman who would be the first African-American federal judge in the history of North Carolina’s Eastern District: the very fact of the blockade itself or the remarkably dishonest way in which the Senator is going about it.
It’s now been almost five years since Burr specifically endorsed Jennifer May-Parker (a federal prosecutor based in Raleigh) for the job to President Obama. Yet, since Obama actually made the nomination last June, Burr has steadfastly refused to submit his “blue slip” — something the quaint rules of the U.S. Senate require from home state senators in order for the nominations process to move forward.
While inexcusable enough on its own, Burr’s tight-lipped blockade is rendered downright outrageous by his duplicitous explanations for his actions. Recently, a friend of NC Policy Watch who wrote Burr on the subject, received a letter in response in which Burr, amazingly enough, said the following:
“Throughout my time in the United States Senate I have worked to address the long-standing (sic) vacancy in the Eastern District of North Carolina. In July 2009, I provided a list of recommendations to President Obama with candidates who could fill this position, along with recommendations for other judicial vacancies in North Carolina. While it is my policy not to publicly discuss conversations I have had with the White House regarding these recommendations, I am committed to seeing that our judicial vacancies are filled with qualified judges.”
How’s that for some misleading, mealy-mouthed hogwash? Not only did the Senator offer up the bogus “I don’t talk about such things with my constituents” excuse, he clearly implies that it’s the President’s fault for not nominating someone on his (Burr’s) list. But, of course, as has been known for some time, May-Parker WAS on Burr’s list! Click here to see the letter in which he recommended her.
The bottom line: Richard Burr appears to believe he can play North Carolinians for fools on this issue by literally speaking out of both sides of his mouth. And sadly, unless more people in the state start raising heck about his unacceptable behavior in the near future, he may just get away with it.