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Why Courts Matter: Sen. Burr blue slip watch Day 280

Blue slipIf you’re wondering why Senator Richard Burr’s absurd and unexplained (and unexplainable) one-man filibuster of Federal District Court nominee Jennifer May-Parker really matters and is one of the most important and under-reported political stories in the Old North State, consider what happened in the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday.

As reported by the good people at Think Progress, things went less than swimmingly during the oral arguments over the Hobby Lobby access to contraception case. As the article (“Justice Kennedy Thinks Hobby Lobby is an Abortion Case — That’s Bad News for Birth Control”) noted, Justice Kennedy appears to be falling for the right wing’s bogus argument that the contraception case is somehow about abortion — a development that could well lead to a disastrous  final outcome in the case.

And how, you ask, does this have anything to do with Burr’s blue slip? Here’s how: Richard Burr 2Burr’s blockade is part of a  straightforward and concerted right-wing strategy to keep ideological control of the federal courts — the kind so painfully on display yesterday at the Hobby Lobby argument. When you boil it down to its essence, the right will do anything it can and use any tactic at its disposal to keep the federal courts from becoming a more diverse and open-minded institution. Thus, every victory they can muster in terms of slowing down and mucking up the process — even if it’s just delaying things for the sake of delay — is one more brick in a wall that, ultimately, leads to more restrictions on birth control and fewer restrictions on giant corporations.

That’s why it’s critical for those who want to fight back against this effort to speak up loudly and plainly on matters like the May-Parker nomination. There may be no Supreme Court seat to fight over right now, but every victory and defeat on lower court nominations plays an indirect role in future fights over the composition of the Court and, of course, the cases that ultimately come before it.

For more information on how you can make the federal courts a better, more diverse and stronger defender of civil and human rights and liberties, check out the outstanding website Why Courts Matter by clicking here.

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