Commentary, News

President nominates veteran state court judge to federal bench; Burr (surprise!) will block

Justice Timmons-Goodson.jpg

Patricia Timmons-Goodson

Ho hum. Another day in which President Obama nominates a respected and highly qualified jurist to the federal bench; another day in which North Carolina’s senior senator makes himself look foolish in announcing he will block the nomination. And, of course, the fact that she would be the first person of color to serve as a federal judge in the two and a quarter centuries they’ve had them in eastern North Carolina has nothing to do with it.

AP’s Gary Robertson reports:

“President Barack Obama’s latest pick Thursday to fill a longstanding vacancy in eastern North Carolina’s federal courts already appears scuttled by Republican Sen. Richard Burr, who blames the president for not acting in good faith.

The White House announced Obama had nominated former state Supreme Court Justice Patricia Timmons-Goodson of Fayetteville to become a U.S. District judge in the Eastern District.

If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Timmons-Goodson would fill a seat that’s been empty for more than 10 years. The president’s 2013 nomination of Jennifer May-Parker for the judgeship was never heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Late Thursday, Burr said the nomination is a ‘transparent attempt to turn the Eastern District vacancy into an election season stunt” and that he “will not support a new nomination in North Carolina from this administration.'”

Richard Burr 2Timmon-Goodson’s nomination is actually one of several of high quality that the President put forward yesterday. Senator Burr, however, claims there was some kind of “deal” between him and Obama years ago over court nominees and has been using this excuse to keep the people of eastern North Carolina under-served and deprived of their first federal judge of color in North Carolina history for years. You really can’t make this stuff up.

Earth to Richard Burr: The only thing that’s “transparent'” in the mess surrounding your absurd and endless blockade of federal court nominees is your lack of regard for the truth and the people of North Carolina.  Judge Timmons-Goodson would be an outstanding and mold-breaking federal judge and yet all you can think of are your own petty grudges and gripes. Your performance in these matters has been a grave disservice to the citizens you swore to represent.

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First African-American woman on state Supreme Court to step down

State Supreme Court Justice Patricia Timmons-Goodson has announced that she will step down on Dec. 17, according to the News & Observer and WRAL.

Timmons-Goodson, the first African-American woman to serve on the court, was appointed in 2006 by then Gov. Mike Easley and re-elected to an eight-year term later that year.

Prior to serving on the Supreme Court, Timmons-Goodson was a Court of Appeals Judge  from 1997 to 2005.

She received her undergraduate and law degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, served as an assistant district attorney in Cumberland County from 1981 to 1983, and was then appointed to a district court judgeship and re-elected to that position in 1986, 1990 and 1994.

Gov. Beverly Perdue will appoint a successor, who will serve the remainder of Timmons-Goodson’s term, which runs through 2014.