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.”

5 Comments


  1. Chris

    February 16, 2016 at 10:48 am

    The GOP’s contempt for the Constitution in general, and this President in particular, continues to reach for audacious new heights. We know, we all know, that if this were the end of President Romney’s second term, there would be no such objections from the right. McConnell and Co. simply must be called on it, consistently and forcefully, from the left, center, and (especially from) the Fourth Estate. Reporting that implies the President is a lame duck challenging the Republicans and the (imagined) will of the people by forcing the issue, etc. normalizes the radical hypocrisy of the GOP and poisons the discourse. As the editorial says, he’s the elected the President and making nominations is part of the job. The people have spoken and it is the GOP trying to subvert their (our) will.

  2. Laurie

    February 16, 2016 at 1:10 pm

    Can we punt them to the curb this election cycle? I mean seriously, they want to fire soooo many people for less than doing their jobs, but then want to protect their ideal protected classes jobs. I do not care if it is an election year, the world did not stop spinning and governance needs still need to be met. Do the right thing, the hard thing, even if it means you have to educate your electorate that you are indeed earning your pay check.

  3. Mike

    February 16, 2016 at 2:32 pm

    If anyone cares about the future health of this state, vote the republican obstructionists out of office asap!!! And Raymond Burr is not my senator, I wouldn’t claim such a pos. He and Tillis both! Gov. McCrory and his legion of doom are destroying this state, precinct by precinct. They have already trashed our education system, our mental health system, our political system from the gerrymandering/redrawing the districts to make it harder for people to get to the polling places and vote against them. It’s all messed up and the people of NC are responsible for voting these morons and obstructionists into office. Now it’s time for the people to reverse this situation we’re in. VOTE Democrat, it’s that frickin’ simple!

  4. Kay

    February 16, 2016 at 4:28 pm

    Now is the time for all registered Democrats to get off their duffs and reclaim our state and country. I am fed up with the gross disrespect shown to our duly elected and re-elected President. Now the Republican led Congress chooses to brag that the President’s nominee will be rejected without consideration. I have read that registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans; if that is true, the current clown circus combo of Republican legislators and candidates demonstrates the need for the people to stand up and be counted.

  5. Mary Lou Mayer

    February 16, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    Voting on ALL court appointees is Mr. Burr’s JOB. Let’s not pay him until he actually does something.

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