Commentary, News

Message to Burr and Tillis: Another NC poll shows strong support for moving ahead with Scalia replacement

As Senators Burr and Tillis continue their pledge to stonewall, add the High Point University Poll to the growing list showing strong support among North Carolinians for ending the U.S. Senate blockade of Obama Supreme Court nominations. This is from an HPU release from yesterday:

“A new High Point University Poll finds that majorities of North Carolina residents believe that President Obama should nominate and the U.S. Senate should consider replacements for Justice Antonin Scalia, the recently deceased Associate Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, before the end of Obama’s presidency. The poll also reported North Carolinians’ job approval ratings for public officials and legislatures.

When asked whether President Obama should nominate a replacement, 60 percent of those polled said yes. The poll also asked whether the U.S. Senate should consider President Obama’s nominee – keeping in mind that the U.S. Senate’s Majority Leader had said that the next president rather than President Obama should nominate a replacement for Justice Scalia. Sixty-eight percent of North Carolinians said that the U.S. Senate should consider any nominee.

North Carolinians appeared to be following relatively closely the story of Justice Scalia’s death and President Obama’s decision to nominate a replacement for the U.S. Supreme Court Justice. Fifty-four percent of the survey respondents said they had heard a lot about the story.

‘Over half of the poll participants indicated closely following the passing of Justice Scalia,’ says Brian McDonald, associate director of the HPU Poll and adjunct professor. ‘The poll confirms that North Carolinians are supportive of President Obama nominating a replacement. In addition, almost 70 percent are in agreement that the U.S. Senate should consider any nominee of the current administration.’”

Click here for more details.

The High Point poll comes just a week after pollsters at Elon University found similar results.

Commentary

Editorial: Hypocritical Burr should pledge not to vote on important matters until after election

Richard Burr 2The Greensboro News & Record hits the nail on the head this morning with a lead editorial deriding the absurd hypocrisy of Senators Richard Burr, Thom Tillis and others on the question of the Supreme Court vacancy created by the death of Antonin Scalia:

“’In this election year, the American people will have an opportunity to have their say in the future direction of our country,’ Burr said in a statement released by his office Monday. ‘For this reason, I believe the vacancy left open by Justice Antonin Scalia should not be filled until there is a new president.’

That notion is both wrong and a political miscalculation.

There is no precedent for denying presidents the chance to appoint justices to the court in the final year of their presidency. They have done so several times, most recently in 1988 when the Senate unanimously confirmed President Ronald Reagan’s choice of current Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Someone could just as credibly argue that Burr, who’s running for re-election this year, should leave important votes to whomever the people of North Carolina choose for his seat in November. But that’s absurd. Burr was elected to a full term; so was Obama. They shouldn’t stop doing their jobs just because their terms are running out. Obama will be in office for 11 more months — plenty of time for the nomination and confirmation of a Supreme Court justice, and too long to leave a vacancy.”

And here’s the excellent conclusion:

“The president should make it as difficult as possible for the Republicans to get away with it. He can, and should, nominate someone with stellar credentials, a compelling personal story and mainstream legal views, with whom the Senate and the American public can find no legitimate objections. One person mentioned is Greensboro native Loretta Lynch, who has had an outstanding career, but her confirmation as attorney general last year was contentious. Obama can find a centrist judge who was already confirmed to a lower court with Republican support.

Americans now know Republicans have staked out their opposition to any candidate, sight unseen. They can judge whether members of the Senate are carrying out their constitutional responsibility to fairly weigh the merits of a presidential nominee. North Carolina voters can ask Burr why he thinks obstruction is part of his job description.

Scalia’s replacement may shift the court’s ideological balance, but so will the next justice, and the next, and the next. Elections do matter, and Obama is the elected president now. This appointment should be his.”

News

Burr calls Trump’s proposed Muslim ban a “huge mistake” (video)

Republican Senator Richard Burr, who chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that Donald Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from entering our country would be bad for national security.

Click below to watch the segment that aired Sunday:

Commentary

The Burr blockade continues: NC federal court vacancy now approaching 10 years

Richard Burr 2As has been documented on this website numerous times, North Carolina Senator Richard Burr has been blocking, literally without explanation, President Obama’s attempt to fill a vacancy on the federal court in North Carolina’s Eastern District for years. It’s gotten so absurd (we are now approaching 10 years in which the court and the citizens of eastern North Carolina have been short staffed) that the White House appears to have given up, for now, in even appointing someone.

Fortunately, however, advocates for justice and sanity haven’t given up. As the Winston-Salem Chronicle reports, women of the NAACP spoke out yet again this week:

“[NC NAACP Executive Director Michelle] Laws recounted how in 2009, Burr first recommended federal prosecutor Jennifer May-Parker, chief of the Appellate Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District in North Carolina, to fill one of over 80 open U.S. District Court seats in the federal judiciary.

If confirmed, May-Parker would have become the first black female federal judge in the history of the Eastern District.

But once President Obama nominated her in 2013, Burr then inexplicably flipped, taking steps to block May–Parker’s nomination, denying her a committee hearing, and ultimately forcing it to die after approximately 300 days.

Newspapers across the state blasted Sen. Burr for not only blocking the nomination, but also never explaining why he did it.”

Burr’s silent stonewalling continues to this day. And sadly, his inexcusable behavior is clearly part of a pattern. According to the most recent data compiled by the folks at the Alliance for Justice, the across-the-board GOP blockade of Obama judicial nominees has now reached the point of true absurdity.

News

Burr, Tillis join Senate Republicans in defeating LGBT Student Nondiscrimination amendment

North Carolina U.S. Senators Richard Burr and Thom Till joined 43 other Senate Republicans Tuesday in defeating an amendment aimed at reducing the bullying of LGBTQ students in the nation’s public schools.

The amendment offered by Minnesota Senator Al Franken was tacked onto to a bill updating No Child Left Behind legislation.

“You cannot learn if you dread going to school,” reasoned Franken.

Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander worried the proposal would only spark more costly lawsuits, and Franken’s amendment failed to get the 60 votes needed to advance.

Click below to hear Sen. Franken speak on his amendment. Click here to see how the rest of the Senate voted.

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