A renewed effort this week by the White House to fill the nation’s longest-running federal district court judicial vacancy — a seat in the Eastern District of North Carolina — again has been met by an unexplained stonewall.
U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, a Winston-Salem Republican, has yet to submit his “blue slip,” the response needed to move the nomination onto the Senate Judiciary Committee’s agenda. The White House resubmitted Jennifer May-Parker’s nomination for the bench Monday.
Burr has yet to explain his inaction. In July 2009, he included May-Parker, a federal prosecutor in the 44-county Eastern District that stretches from Raleigh to the coast, on a short list for President Barack Obama to consider.
Obama first nominated May-Parker for the slot in June 2013, but Senate Judiciary agendas have been compiled, scheduled and heard without May-Parker’s nomination on any of them.
Sen. Kay Hagan, a Democrat from Greensboro, has submitted her “blue slip” to put May-Parker’s nomination on the agenda.
Rachel Hicks, Burr’s spokeswoman, said this week that “Sen. Burr did submit multiple names for the Eastern District. However, it has always been his policy not to release or publicly discuss judicial recommendations made to the White House.”
The nomination of May-Parker in June was much heralded by civil rights advocates in the summer. If confirmed, she would make history as the first African-American federal district judge in the Eastern District. The seat has sat empty since Jan. 1, 2006.
*** Mike McIntyre’s exit may shift the state’s congressional delegation even further to the Republican side. Read about it and more below in the Dome Morning Memo.***
Gov. Pat McCrory did not issue a public calendar for Thursday.
Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida, had initially supported the nomination of William Thomas to fill a long vacant slot on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. But the Obama administration pulled the name back this week after it became apparent that Rubio planned to block Thomas from being appointed.
The move, which McIntyre announced Wednesday, ends speculation that the conservative Blue Dog Democrat would face another tough election this year and opens the door for Republicans to take another U.S. House seat in North Carolina. Already after McIntyre’s announcement on Wednesday, election prognosticators were moving the 7th Congressional District race into the Republican column. Republicans hold nine of the state’s 13 seats in Congress.
White, who is also a former state senator, is lining up support from some prominent names in Republican circles, from the district’s 2010 GOP nominee Ilario Pantano to former state party chairman and former Raleigh Mayor Tom Fetzer and state Rep. Rick Catlin of New Hanover County, among others. Their support shows party leaders aren’t fully behind Rouzer and portends a heated primary for the Republican nod.
White said he has raised $65,000, with commitments for $150,000 more, and plans seven fundraisers in the next five weeks. Rouzer says he has $300,000 in the bank. Read more here.
He writes: “The thing to do in each instance is to acknowledge the mistake, apologize and set a corrective course.
“That’s what you and I would do. That’s not what our beloved governor does, though. Through his first year in office, McCrory has been unwilling to criticize or punish his appointees when they’ve made egregious errors – or himself for hiring them.” Read more here.
Further down: “In North Carolina, where Ms. Hagan is under attack from several Republican opponents trying to oust her, the state Democratic Party will release a memo this week highlighting what it says is “a long record of demeaning statements against those struggling to make ends meet” by Thom Tillis, the speaker of the State House, who is running against her.
“Those include his remarks about needing “to divide and conquer” people on public assistance and dismissing opposition to policies championed by North Carolina Republicans as “whining coming from losers.” After the Republican-led legislature there cut social service programs like unemployment, imposed new restrictions on abortion and put higher burdens on voters, protests broke out in Raleigh.” Read more here.
The board doesn’t plan to vote this month on the state Department of Public Instruction’s recommendation to keep the state-produced tests at least through the 2015-16 school year. But members said Wednesday that they liked the idea of postponing selection of new tests and asking a new advisory group for suggestions. Board Chairman Bill Cobey asked DPI staff to develop a formal proposal for creating the advisory group. Read more here.
The other meetings this year are tentatively scheduled for March 19, May 21, July 16, Sept, 17 and Nov. 19.
Asheville City Council has said it can do nothing to stop the practice, and the annual topless rallies held at Pack Square, because of state law. Chamber President Kit Cramer said Wednesday she doesn’t care who fixes the problem, as long as it gets done. She has asked Republican Sen. Tom Apodaca, the chair of the powerful Rules Committee, to handle the matter. Read more here.
Members of the state legislature’s joint oversight committee on unemployment insurance were told at a hearing Wednesday that there would be logistical and financial implications to making the benefits available to unemployed workers who exhaust their state-funded benefits.
The decision on making those extended benefits available would be up to Gov. Pat McCrory.
State Sen. Malcolm Graham announced Wednesday he wouldn’t seek re-election in order to focus on his congressional race. “It has truly been an honor serving in this capacity for 5 terms,” he said in a statement. “As I have been for most of my career, I remain dedicated to making North Carolina and Mecklenburg County a great place to live, work and play. To that end, I will be seeking election to the United States 12th Congressional District seat ...”
Her experience includes communications and operations for Americans for Prosperity, a conservative organization with strong roots in North Carolina. She also worked with the N.C. Family Policy Council.
In a statement, Harris praised Gravely, calling her “one of the most respected field operatives involved in North Carolina politics.” “Anna Beavon is experienced and knowledgeable in political organization, grassroots mobilization, and GOTV functions,” he continued. “I am thrilled she is joining my campaign team as we continue to be the most focused and disciplined force in this race.”
Gravely was the student body president at Meredith College in 2011. She is a Rocky Mount native.
The N.C. Senate Democratic Caucus named Ford Porter as Caucus Director. Porter previously served as communications director on the legislative staff of Senate Democratic leader Martin Nesbitt and previously as press secretary for the Walter Dalton’s gubernatorial campaign.
#NCPOL Twitterati get a shout out. Read more here.
Michael Bitzer, North Carolina political expert and bow-tie aficionado, gets a big promotion. Read more here.
ICYMI, the UNC-TV response to airing Bill Moyers documentary. Read more here.
Potential risks for teachers who give up tenure. Read more here.