Editorial: If Burr won't fill court vacancies, pick someone new for his Senate seat

Posted November 2, 2016

Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Burr

A CBC Editorial: Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016; Editorial# 8076
The following is the opinion of Capitol Broadcasting

Sen. Richard Burr has proudly blocked a federal judge’s seat in North Carolina’s eastern judicial district from being filled for 11 years – 11 YEARS! -- longer than any other in the nation’s history. That’s quite a record for our senator.

Along the way, the administration of justice had been badly impeded in 44 counties of eastern North Carolina and two highly qualified nominees, both African-American women, have been denied the appointments because of Burr’s opposition. The overburdened Eastern District court is termed an emergency, according to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.

Last Saturday, during a private meeting with supporters in Mooresville, Burr promised, despite earlier statement to the contrary, to continue to block judicial appointments if a Democrat is elected president. “If Hillary Clinton becomes president, I’m going to do everything I can to make sure that four years from now, we’ve still got an opening on the Supreme Court,” Burr boasted. “This is not tough for me. I have the longest judicial vacancy in the history of the United States in the Eastern District of North Carolina.” (Listen to Burr’s entire Mooresville discussion, obtained by CNN)

There you have it. Sen. Burr is a world-class obstructionist.

His pronouncement is contrary to what he said in March, following the president’s nomination of Merrick Garland to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court after the death of Antonin Scalia.

“The American people deserve a voice in the nomination of the next Supreme Court Justice. This appointment could easily tip the balance of the court in a direction not supported by the American people.”

Burr has changes his tune. Now, it seems, he really meant that the American people deserve a voice – only if a Republican president makes the nomination. Otherwise, just let the court go on and do the best it can.

Is Sen. Burr planning to add six more years to his record of blocking judicial nominations? Is he going for 17 years on the Eastern District seat?

It is clear from his Mooresville appearance that Sen. Burr intends to keep playing politics with our courts if Clinton is elected. North Carolina needs a senator that respects our court system. The choice is obvious.


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  • Edward Tilley Nov 8, 2016
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    How did this work out for you, WRAL?

  • John Townsend Nov 2, 2016
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    Obama voted against Roberts and filibustered Alito. Burr is just being honest.

    Besides, Burr will likely change his tune if Clinton nominated a conservative.

  • Deborrah Newton Nov 2, 2016
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    Senator Burr will not allow the confirmation because he does not agree, purportedly, the candidates are sufficiently qualified, only demographically selected. Despite his lack of credibility on making such assessment (sales background), his penchant for support for campaign contributions to be considered for nomination is the likely reason, particularly as he stubbornly insists on one nominee...a long term supporter. Mr. Burr, we need experienced, effective, non,partisan federal trial lawyers on the federal trial bench. The fact that you do understand that (or simply do not care) lost you my vote. I am disgusted with the process that results in NC citizens not trusting our trial courts when they need relief. This is your legacy. We need a credible process with honest, serious people in charge. The justice system is no place for partisan selfish political maneuvering because it hurts people, real people, every day, and makes my job harder. Deb Newton, Federal Defense Attorney

  • Letha Book Nov 2, 2016
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    View quoted thread


  • Letha Book Nov 2, 2016
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    View quoted thread

    Reminds me of Cooper

  • Jeff Franklin Nov 2, 2016
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    View quoted thread

    Please share some evidence of your claim that the same thing happened under Bush, especially for 11 years.

    Thanks, in advance

  • Mark Cooper Nov 2, 2016
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    Both sides have done this folks... quit being blind sheep as that is the real issue with our political system and continuing to elect career politicians. One party condemning the other for things they have done themselves. They play to the people that either don't or choose to to remember.

    It is a systematic problem in design not an individual issue.

    If term limits were in place 40 years ago neither Burr or Ross would be in politics because it would not have been a free career ride and we would be voting for actual candidates that care to do the right things not intentionally cause grid lock.

  • Marty Martin Nov 2, 2016
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    WOW -- Sen. Burr announces he WILL NOT perform part of his job he would be elected to do.
    Patriots will vote - are voting - for Ross!

  • Pete Muller Nov 2, 2016
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    Typical obstructionist behavior by Burr. The GOP has been doing this for the last 8 years. Time to flush him out.

  • Will Sonnett Nov 2, 2016
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    If Obama/Clinton will not nominate judges who will adhere to the Constitution, elect a president who will.