North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr has been justly criticized for his obstruction of Jennifer May-Parker, a judicial nominee who he originally recommended to the White House back in 2009. If confirmed, May-Parker would become the first African American federal judge in the Eastern District of North Carolina. Without Burr's support, Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy won't even schedule a hearing for the nominee. Unfortunately, the senator has steadfastly refused to say why he is blocking her.
NC Policy Watch's Progressive Pulse blog has posted the brief form letter Burr is sending to constituents who want to know why he is single-handedly keeping this seat empty. Remember as you read this that the nominee Burr is blocking is one that he himself recommended in 2009:
In July 2009, I provided a list of recommendations to President Obama with candidates who could fill this position, along with recommendations for other judicial vacancies in North Carolina. While it is my policy not to publicly discuss conversations I have had with the White House regarding these recommendations, I am committed to seeing that our judicial vacancies are filled with qualified judges.
The blogger's response:
How's that for some misleading, mealy-mouthed hogwash? Not only did the Senator offer up the bogus "I don't talk about such things with my constituents" excuse, he clearly implies that it's the President's fault for not nominating someone on his (Burr's) list. But, of course, as has been known for some time, May-Parker WAS on Burr's list!
This is hardly the first time that Burr has been caught misleading people who have the audacity to ask him to explain his official actions as a U.S. senator. Last month, he deflected a reporter by claiming that "I just don't share anything about the judicial nominations process." Unfortunately for Burr, that was revealed not to be true.
Perhaps Burr should remember that the people of North Carolina are his employers. If he does not want to explain his official actions to them, perhaps he should consider another line of work.
In fact, a committee hearing would be the perfect place for Burr to raise whatever problems he might have with the nominee. That would also give May-Parker a chance to answer any questions Burr and other senators might have. But he seems willing to continue his abuse of the current blue slip system, in which Chairman Leahy does not hold a hearing without the consent of both home state senators.