Editorial: If Burr won't fill court vacancies, pick someone new for his Senate seat
Posted November 2, 2016
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.