Local News

Bush Blames Edwards For Blocking Judicial Nominations

Posted July 8, 2004 6:41 a.m. EDT

— President George W. Bush tried to steal a bit of John Edwards' thunder Wednesday.

He was in Raleigh to talk about judicial nominees and raise money for the Republicans.

The president blamed Edwards and other Senate Democrats for blocking his judicial nominees.

"There's an issue in North Carolina that needs to be solved, and the only ones who can solve it are North Carolina senators," Bush said.

"Sen. Edwards will not even allow two of the nominees . . . to get to committee for a hearing."

The nomination of Chief U.S. District Judge Terrence Boyle has been held up about three years. Lawyer Jim Dever has been waiting for more than two years, and former U.S. Attorney Bob Conrad's nomination has been delayed about a year.

There is a history of stalling when it comes to North Carolina senators and judicial appointments.

Former U.S. Sen. Robert Morgan said this is part of an ongoing political tug of war.

"That's exactly what it is," he said. "And each side blames the other when it comes up."

Morgan represented North Carolina in the Senate from 1975 to 1981. He said that, in 1980, presidential politics affected 35 judicial nominations.

"Thirty-five nominees who had been approved by everybody died in that committee waiting for the election," he said, "waiting to see who would be elected."

During the Clinton administration, Morgan said, Sen. Jesse Helms blocked a number of judicial nominations. Morgan said that's just the way it goes in politics.

"As Churchill said: 'It's the worst of all forms of government, except all the rest,'" he said.

Morgan said Bush should just get used to delays in judicial nominations.

Bush said his nominees would faithfully interpret the law. The Kerry-Edwards camp says the nominees would roll back the clock on America.