Thursday, January 9, 2014

Why is Sen. Burr blocking his own nominee?

Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., is blocking his own nominee to the federal bench.

In 2009, Burr sent a letter to President Obama recommending Jennifer May-Parker to be a U.S. District judge for the eastern North Carolina district, which runs from Raleigh to the coast. May-Parker, along with other nominees Burr recommended for other spots, had "the requisite qualifications to serve with distinction," Burr wrote in a letter to Obama obtained by the Huffington Post.

Obama nominated May-Parker for the spot in June, but no action has been taken by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Obama re-submitted her nomination on Monday.

But Burr has not turned in his blue slip, which would allow the Judiciary Committee to move her nomination forward. Senators essentially have veto power over nominees in their home state; Burr is vetoing his own nominee by withholding the blue slip.

Burr has not explained his approach. His spokeswoman, Rachel Hicks, told McClatchy's Washington bureau, "It has always been his policy not to release or publicly discuss judicial recommendations made to the White House."

May-Parker, chief of the appellate division of the U.S. Attorney's Office in the eastern district, would become the first African-American judge in the district. The seat has been vacant since 2006 -- the longest federal district court vacancy in the nation.

Burr's action is puzzling. If May-Parker has done something to lose his support, he should make that clear. If it's mere politics, he should submit his blue slip and let the Senate committee debate May-Parker's qualifiations.

-- Taylor Batten


Anonymous said...

Burr? Is McCrory home sick today???

Archiguy said...

Simple. The willingness of Republicans to place petty politics over the public interest knows no bounds.

This latest example of GOP pettiness could possibly be in retaliation for the Senate invoking the "nuclear option" in order to get the President's nominations for important positions through the ideological logjam, some of which have been delayed for 5 years.

Republicans in Congress have abandoned any pretense of working for the public good. Not that they care. They know their hard-core supporters - the ones that participate in primaries - will vote for them no matter what they do, the more intransigent the better. And reaching across the isle is now seen as nothing but a sign of weakness.

This is what the U.S. Congress has become, and what President Obama is forced to deal with on a daily basis. Last year was horrendous, and it wasn't even an election year. Expect things to get even worse this year, unfortunately.

Jeff Henson said...

Then-Senator Obama in 2005 re the majority party choosing to end the filibuster:

"The American people sent us here to be their voice. . . . What they don't expect is for one party-be it Republican or Democrat-to change the rules in the middle of the game so that they can make all the decisions while the other party is told to sit down and keep quiet. . . . The American people want less partisanship in this town, but everyone in this chamber knows that the majority chooses to end the filibuster. If they choose to change the rules and put an end to democratic debate, then the fighting and the bitterness and the gridlock will only get worse."

In 2013, the Democrats changed the rules and ended democratic debate. You reap what you sow.

Jeff Henson said...


Change your headline. Senators don't nominate judges.

Garth Vader said...

Archiguy/DLP/whoever you are:

Harry Reid said this in 2005 regarding the filibuster:

"For people to suggest that you can break the rules to change the rules is un-American. The only way you can change the rule in this body is through a rule that now says, to change a rule in the Senate rules to break a filibuster still requires 67 votes. You can't do it with 60. You certainly cannot do it with 51. But now we are told the majority is going to do the so-called nuclear option. We will come in here, having the Vice President seated where my friend and colleague from Nevada is seated. The Parliamentarian would acknowledge it is illegal, it is wrong, you can't do it, and they would overrule it. It would simply be: We are going to do it because we have more votes than you. You would be breaking the rules to change the rules. That is very un-American."

"The majority can't get what they want so they break the rules to change the rules. We believe the traditions of the Senate should be maintained. We believe if you are going to change the rules in the Senate, change them legally, not illegally,"

"They are talking about doing something illegal. They are talking about breaking the rules to change the rules, and that is not appropriate. That is not fair, and it is not right."

The Observer Editorial Board said...

Thanks. It's headline shorthand, because she is Burr's recommendation to be the nominee.

Taylor Batten

Jeff Henson said...

Taylor, thanks for the explanation. By the way, Obama resubmitted her nomination and its Thursday afternoon. Congress isn't Amazon.

Ali & Syd said...


Taylor, thanks for the explanation. By the way, Obama resubmitted her nomination on Monday and it's Thursday afternoon. Congress isn't Amazon.

Observer editorial board said...

Congress is definitely not Amazon, but Burr has been holding on to his blue slip since Obama nominated her in June.

Archiguy said...

Jeff & Garth - Neither then Senator Obama nor Senator Reid wanted to end filibusters. They were forced into it so the President could get SOMEbody through the appointment process. The GOP minority had already exercised the nuclear option in terms of simply not approving anyone the executive branch nominated for agencies and judicial openings. It was obstructionism taken to a malignant new level never seen before.

The Republicans were threatening to filibuster (because a threat is all it took) people because they opposed the ACA or other political reasons that had NOTHING to do with the candidate's qualifications. They were taking it much further than any Congress had ever taken it before. Senator Reid felt he had no choice and most impartial observers of the Washington scene agreed with him, as did the President.

The change in rules applies only to Executive Branch appointees. So the Republican minority can continue to act as childishly and petulantly as they have for the last 5 years in all other Senate matters. As they no doubt will.

Jeff Henson said...

Weak, Archiguy, very weak. At last Taylor had the good sense not to speculate about the filibuster abuse knowing that it was both a radical step done to appease the far Left and that the Democrats do not have clean hands. They initiated filibuster abuse on nominees and are the most extreme proponents of it. You are also wrong about the chamge in rules applying only to executive branch nominees. The radical step taken was that the rules of the Senate can be changed at any time by a simple majority.

Archiguy said...

Much weaker Jeff. The rules of the Senate could ALWAYS be changed by simple majority, and I was correct in describing the limitations of this particular change - it applies only to nominees. But since you only believe what reinforces your preconceptions, feel free to look it up. Don't worry, I won't expect an apology.

Secondly, the Democrats never turned the filibuster into a political weapon to this extent, not even close. The Republicans have taken political partisanship and blatant obstruction to levels never before seen. This is a completely new age.

You can live in a right-wing fantasy world, and you clearly like it there, but don't expect anyone reading this blog to join you. They're not all as dumb as you think.

Jeff Henson said...

Rule XXII of the Standing Rules of the Senate:

Without debate, the Presiding Officer shall then submit to the Senate by a yea-and-nay vote the question: "Is it the sense of the Senate that the debate shall be brought to a close?"
If that question is decided in the affirmative by three-fifths of the Senators duly chosen and sworn—except on a measure or motion to amend the Senate rules, in which case the necessary affirmative vote shall be two-thirds of the Senators present and voting—then said measure, motion, or other matter pending before the Senate, or the unfinished business, shall be the unfinished business to the exclusion of all other business until disposed of.

Archiguy said...

Good grief Jeff, how do you think it was done then, since Democrats don't have a supermajority? From the article in the Washington Post reporting that day....

"What made the day so historic for senators, former senators and the small collection of parliamentary experts in Washington was the SIMPLE MAJORITY VOTE used to execute the changes — a tactic so extreme it is known as the “nuclear option.”

Previous majorities had threatened to upend filibuster rules in this manner, but relying on a simple majority vote had been used only for relatively minor procedural changes to how amendments were handled, never to eliminate the super­majority requirement altogether. Before Thursday, the standard precedent was that major rule changes needed a two-thirds majority."

Jeff Henson said...

First, how about saying you were wrong in claiming that the Senate could always change its rules by majority vote. Even your WaPo excerpt confirms I was right.
Second, man up and comment under your real name. Don't hide behind an alias.
Third, Reid took the radical position that the rules of any Senate are not binding on a succeeding Senate which is free to adopt its own rules by majority vote.

Archiguy said...

They always could; they just NEVER HAD BEFORE. Because no Party had ever abused the Senate procedures like this before, turning the filibuster into a weapon of obstruction. Reid had no choice. These positions needed to be filled; the people's work needed to get done, and Congress's single digit approval ratings made that crystal clear.

You do understand that don't you? No? Then I can't help you because it can't be more simple and clear. I've wasted enough time.

Feel free to continue talking to yourself. But I'm done here.

I-77 Sunset Strip said...

To "The Observer Editorial Board"

Would you please eliminate/clean up the Faux near-names so we can indeed know that it's actually "you" who is commenting? If it weren't for the grammar, misspellings and obvious snark we might not know.

For example Observer editorial board, The Charlotte Observer, etc.


Carol Justus said...

The present day republicans do not have any idea what they want for they are owned by the billionaires such as Grover Norquist, who some 286 or so have sign a pledge to do as he tells them. So they have to wait to get instructions from him, the Koch brothers, the Casino owner from Vegas, and the oil and mineral companies to do anything!!

We use to have some really good republican in both houses but they are long gone!!!

Carol Justus said...

The present day republicans do not have any idea what they want for they are owned by the billionaires such as Grover Norquist, who some 286 or so have sign a pledge to do as he tells them. So they have to wait to get instructions from him, the Koch brothers, the Casino owner from Vegas, and the oil and mineral companies to do anything!!

We use to have some really good republican in both houses but they are long gone!!!

Jeff Henson said...


Time to change your headline. I suggest the following: "Why is Sen. Hagan not appearing with President Obama in Raleigh?"