Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hagan pushed for North Carolinians on 4th Circuit

The Observer editorialized in this morning's paper on the nomination of two North Carolinians to the U.S. Court of Appeals' Fourth Circuit. We lauded President Obama's choices of Jim Wynn and Albert Diaz for seats on the Richmond, Va.,-based court. Wynn, an N.C. Court of Appeals judge, and Diaz, a superior court judge specializing in business cases, are both well-qualified for the federal bench. And their confirmation would mark an end to 15 years of petty partisanship that has deprived North Carolina from adequate representation on that court.

What the editorial did not mention, but perhaps should have, was Sen. Kay Hagan's role in getting two nominations for North Carolina. The court has traditionally had two seats for North Carolinians, with one vacant for years. If Wynn and Diaz are confirmed, they would join Allyson Duncan on the court and North Carolina would have three judges there.

We'll let Hagan's communications director, Stephanie Allen, take it from here. She e-mailed us to say:

"Senator Hagan, of course, completely agrees with the premise of the editorial. However, it neglects to mention the reason President Obama nominated two North Carolinians. When she came to the Senate, Senator Hagan was told flatly that there was no way North Carolina would get two additional seats. After months of pushing the White House – numerous meetings and phone calls with the White House counsel, a call to President Obama, a packet given to the White House making the case that North Carolina was underrepresented on the court -- they came around to her point of view. She will now be working to make sure the confirmation process for the two North Carolinians, both of whom are highly qualified, goes smoothly. "

-- Posted by Taylor Batten