Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch has an editorial in the News & Observer today on U.S. Senator Richard Burr’s “silent filibuster” of Obama’s nominee to fill a federal court vacancy in North Carolina’s Eastern District. Burr refuses to submit the “blue slip” needed to add Raleigh-based federal prosecutor Jennifer May-Parker to the Senate Judiciary Committee agenda, preventing May-Parker’s Senate hearing from moving forward.
The seat has been vacant since 2006, making it the longest-running federal district court vacancy in the nation.
Via the News & Observer:
It would be one thing if Burr would stand up, own his position and explain and debate it, but such honesty has not been forthcoming. Sadly, in keeping with the silent brand of “blackballing” that so often afflicted efforts to break discrimination barriers in decades gone by, Burr has refused even to admit his opposition or engage with those advancing May-Parker’s nomination. The only reason the public even knows of his opposition is confirmation provided by the Senate Judiciary Committee staff.
What’s perhaps saddest and most ironic, however, is that such Ted Cruz-like obstructionism has not normally been Burr’s style.
Though extremely conservative, Burr recently won deserved praise for his unwillingness to go along with the far right’s plan to shut down the federal government and risk default on the national debt in an effort to derail the Affordable Care Act. Burr rightfully called the Cruz plan “the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard.”
News & Observer – Burr’s secret filibuster of judicial nominee is troubling
Schofield notes at The Progressive Pulse that Burr’s delay tactics are part of a larger problem:
One thing I didn’t have space to mention in the N&O piece, however, is that Burr’s absurd obstructionism is part of a broader and pernicious pattern; the GOP has been blocking and delaying Obama’s court nominees simply as a matter of course for years. Even nominees who end up getting confirmed unanimously often find themselves waiting for months (or even years) for a simple hearing and up or down vote that ought to take a matter of weeks.
The Progressive Pulse – Burr’s judicial filibuster part of a pernicious pattern