• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Subscribe
  • RSS

Yet Another Example of the Problematic Nature of the Judicial Nomination Process

Via ThinkProgress:  Senator Richard Burr Blocks Judge That Senator Richard Burr Told Obama To Nominate

In 2009, Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) wrote a letter to President Obama recommending that he nominate Jennifer May-Parker, a federal prosecutor from his state, to a judicial vacancy on a federal trial court. You can read his letter to President Obama here. Last June, the president agreed with Burr’s recommendation, and nominated Ms. May-Parker to be a federal district judge.

And now Burr is blocking May-Parker’s nomination, invoking an arcane Senate tradition that allows senators to unilaterally veto judicial nominees from their own state.

More evidence that there is something seriously wrong with this process.

More from HuffPoRichard Burr Dodges Questions On Why He’s Blocking A Judicial Nominee He Previously Supported.

h/t:  Scott Lemieux (whose title is on target here:  The World’s Worst Deliberative Body).

Related Posts:

About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor and Chair of Political Science at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. He is the author of Voting Amid Violence: Electoral Democracy in Colombia and is currently working on a comparative study of the US to 29 other democracies. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging at PoliBlog since 2003. Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Dave D says:

    Well last year we saw McConnell filibuster his own bill when Reid took a floor vote. So I would just say this a problem in the senate that nothing can get done.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  2. al-Ameda says:

    @Steven:

    In 2009, Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) wrote a letter to President Obama recommending that he nominate Jennifer May-Parker, a federal prosecutor from his state, to a judicial vacancy on a federal trial court.

    Well, that’s what Obama gets for cooperating with a Republicans. To be fair, Burr is a North Carolina Republican, so everyone’s expectations are low.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  3. An Interested Party says:

    Lest anyone be tempted to say that both sides do it, is there any example of a Democrat doing stupid $hit like this? This is yet another example of how rank and vile the GOP is…

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 4

  4. Kari Q says:

    @An Interested Party:

    I agree that if Democrats have done this, I would really like to know about it. I’m unaware of it happening before this administration.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  5. gVOR08 says:

    Who downvoted @An Interested Party: ? And how can you downvote it without providing an example? Bueller?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  6. Just 'nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    @gVOR08: The person who downvoted is probably like my friend who responds with “well THE LEFT is even worse” when I ask him about something stupid that a conservative said.

    As vile (personally, I would say stupid, but…) as this is, the downvoter probably is thinking “I’ll show this guy to cherry pick among his issues–he’s just saying this because he doesn’t like Republicans” And a downvote is created.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  7. edmondo says:

    The Republicans are unreasonable? Who knew? Apparently not the guy who spent the first four years of his presidency trying to appease them. LOL. What a naïve little man he turned out to be.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 11

  8. Tony W says:

    Maybe Mr. Obama is finally doing that double-secret ninja reverse-psychology move that we’ve been suggesting in this forum for a while now. The poor Republicans don’t know whether to support or oppose anything now…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  9. edmondo says:

    @Tony W:

    The Dream never dies, does it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  10. An Interested Party says:

    Apparently not the guy who spent the first four years of his presidency trying to appease them. LOL. What a naïve little man he turned out to be.

    So he should of simply talked of bipartisanship rather than actually trying to do it? Would you then be trashing him for not practicing what he preached? In the end, the past five years have shown that it doesn’t do anything positive to actually try to work with Republicans…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  11. Pinky says:

    If you’re looking for examples of Democratic hypocrisy and the judicial nomination process, you should look at statements that senators have made about the “nuclear option”. Definitely both sides have done that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 10

  12. An Interested Party says:

    Definitely both sides have done that.

    No, that is not the same thing as recommending someone for a position and then squelching that nominee once you have the chance to do so…this latter move is ridiculous and shows how Republicans are completely antagonistic toward the President and would do virtually nothing that they think would benefit him, not even if it benefited others…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  13. Pinky says:

    @An Interested Party: You’re right, it’s not the exact same thing. Generally, blue slips don’t make it public.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 6

  14. al-Ameda says:

    @Pinky:

    Definitely both sides have done that.

    Exactly.

    If one side does it, say, 95% of the time, and the other does it 5% of the time, it is technically correct to say that “both sides do it.” However, to make that observation, in light of this case and of the past 3 years, is the blogging equivalent of empty calories – there is no inherent value to that observation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  15. Pinky says:

    The “that” I was referring to was hypocrisy about the so-called nuclear option. I don’t know which side mathematically has committed more hyprocisy about it. If you’re talking about abuse of the legislative process in general, I’d say that the means by which the House and Senate produced Obamacare was the worst abuse of the system I’ve ever seen. If you want to compare that to a blue slip, feel free.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 11

  16. David M says:

    @Pinky:

    If you’re talking about abuse of the legislative process in general, I’d say that the means by which the House and Senate produced Obamacare was the worst abuse of the system I’ve ever seen.

    The Senate passed a bill. The House then passed the same bill. The President signed it into law. Remind me again what is so nefarious about that?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  17. rachel says:

    @Pinky:

    Blah blah blah “nuclear option hypocracy” cakes.

    So… Basically, you can’t find an example of a Democratic legislator blocking his or her own proposal because a Republican president has agreed to it.

    I’d say that the means by which the House and Senate produced Obamacare was the worst abuse of the system I’ve ever seen.

    Of course you objected to this procedure when Congress used it to pass Bush’s tax cuts, right? The fact is this “worst abuse of the system” is very much part of business as usual. That you may not like the results doesn’t make it illegitimate or illegal.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  18. Kari Q says:

    @Pinky:

    What I’m interested in is if any Democrat has ever recommended the president nominate a particular individual for a judicial position then blocked (or even voted against) their own nominee.

    That is, as far as I know, something that was not done by either party before this administration. If I am wrong and it has been done before, I’d like to know.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  19. humanoid.panda says:

    @edmondo: How would a True Progressive President nominate judges in states with republican senators, when Senate procedures require assent of both senators fro a given state? What would you do in same situation?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  20. humanoid.panda says:

    @Pinky: What is exactly the abuse the Democrats engaged in? Please be specific. Also, points will be deducted for talking about things being rammed down America’s throat and/or legislators not reading bills.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  21. Pinky says:

    @rachel: Which part of the process by which the Bush tax cuts were passed is the problem for you?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  22. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Pinky: You know, if when you look at the completely obvious stupidity in a person’s statement and you are STILL not able to recognize the exact same obvious rank stupidity in in your own statement… Well, put down the keyboard, step away from it, and you won’t get hurt, I promise. Just. Walk. Away.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  23. Pinky says:

    @humanoid.panda:
    The House passed a health care bill and passed it. The Senate took a tax bill, removed its contents, wrote a health care bill in its stead, and passed it. The House and Senate didn’t meet for reconciliation. The House passed the Senate bill, then wrote a reconciliation bill which it and the Senate passed.

    My problems are: that the Senate bill constituted a spending bill which should have been produced by the House; the House and Senate didn’t meet for reconciliation, because they didn’t believe they could produce a compromise bill that could get 60 votes in the Senate; the House used a reconciliation bill to make substantial changes to the bill that they’d just passed earlier that day. I don’t know of any similar cases.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  24. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I take it back. Nothing Rachel said was obviously stupid. Having reread her post I have come to recognize that you only doubled down on your own obliviousness.

    Rachel? I most sincerely apologize.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  25. Pinky says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Sorry for the sequence. It does make it look like I had no reply to Panda, but expected the same kind of reply from Rachel. I knew what I wanted to say to Panda, but hadn’t gotten it written yet.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  26. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Pinky: So, you’re objection is that the majority Dems in the House and Senate, using the rules of the House and Senate as the Constitution allows these institutions to set them, to duly pass legislation. Where upon it was signed by the President.

    The shame… The SHAME!!! THE RULE OF RICH WHITE PEOPLE IS IN DANGER The oligarchy is over.

    I had no idea you’re beliefs were so antithetical to democracy. But I guess I should not be surprised. You seem to do alot of cheer leading for a party that is obsessed with disenfranchising those who vote for the other party.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  27. humanoid.panda says:

    @Pinky: I thought you would say something like this. I wonder,when, during this process, was voting suspended, so that corporate lobbyist would have time to provide checks and offer bribes to legislators, as it happened during the long night of the passage of Medicare Part D? Would you agree that blatant corruption outweighs procedural chicanery?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  28. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Pinky: My objection is your apparent objection to legislation passed by majorities of both houses under the rules they themselves have set up. We can both go back and find innumerable examples of both the Dems and the GOPs (2 words: Tom. Delay.) using the rules to pass legislation that was then signed into law by the President.

    If I were to take your objection serious, I would venture to say that somewhere between one quarter and one half the laws passed since the birth of this country should be considered “illegitimate”. But I don’t take your objections serious, as they sound more like whining, kind of like Dems complaining about the election of Bush in 2000.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  29. humanoid.panda says:

    @humanoid.panda: And for the record, I am not opposed to either legislative chicanery nor to, within some bounds, lobbying by moneyed interests. Logrolling is an ancient American tradition, and God knows the American legislative machinery creaky it wouldn’t do much without some greasing. However, pretending that the ACA is some kind of unprecendted monstrosity merely 10 years after the corruption cornucopia fo the Delay Congress is really precious.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  30. Pinky says:

    What is your objection to Burr’s move? He’s using rules of the Senate to accomplish what he wants.

    Your objection is either that he’s doing so in a partisan way, or that he’s twisting the intent of the rules. Both objections apply to my criticism of the health care law. (I suppose your rejection could have been to the seeming hypocrisy of it, but commenters considered my comparison to the “nuclear option” debate to be inapt.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  31. @Pinky: Burr is using the rules of the chamber, yes. In that senses, it is a legitimate move. However, it is also a move that underscores a nearly broken system for filling judicial openings.

    Surely you can see that there is something a bit weird about recommending and then blocking the same person for office (unless some information emerged between the recommendation and the block to cause one to change one’s mind–but there is not evidence to suggest that this is what happened).

    There has been an increasing move to make it difficult to accomplish what was once routine in regards to the nomination process.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  32. al-Ameda says:

    @Pinky:

    Both objections apply to my criticism of the health care law. (I suppose your rejection could have been to the seeming hypocrisy of it, but commenters considered my comparison to the “nuclear option” debate to be inapt.)

    Yes, I agree with commenters who are of the opinion that your comparison of Republican objections to ACA with Burr’s greaseball move to rescind his support for a judge that he previously supported is “inapt.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  33. rachel says:

    @Pinky: LOL wut?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  34. wr says:

    @Pinky: “If you’re talking about abuse of the legislative process in general, I’d say that the means by which the House and Senate produced Obamacare was the worst abuse of the system I’ve ever seen.”

    Yes, it passed by a straight majority vote. but Pinky’s team lost, so that made it abuse of the system.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  35. Gavrilo says:

    From the HuffPost article:

    One thing that’s a little unusual in May-Parker’s case is that four years passed between the time that Burr recommended her and when the White House sent her nomination to the Senate.

    Yet Another Example of the Problematic Nature of the Judicial Nomination Process: The President dragging his feet on judicial nominees.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  36. al-Ameda says:

    @Gavrilo:

    Yet Another Example of the Problematic Nature of the Judicial Nomination Process: The President dragging his feet on judicial nominees.

    Yes, that certainly explains why Burr opposes someone he recommended.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  37. rudderpedals says:

    Aaron or Raymond, which one is this guy? He’s acting like a saddle burr.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  38. KM says:

    If I was May-Parker, I’d be pissed. Someone who was on my side, writing letters of recommendation suddenly doing a 180 to try and tank my promotion (and possibly career) due to….. what exactly, hurt partisan feelings? Idiocy? Sheer butthurt? Does she get an explanation for why someone’s screwing her out of a job other then he’s acting like an ass?

    What did she do to deserve this position? What is wrong with her as a candidate? Is she the best fit for the position? These are the only things that should matter.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  39. David M says:

    @Pinky:

    The House passed a health care bill and passed it. The Senate took a tax bill, removed its contents, wrote a health care bill in its stead, and passed it.

    That is not unusual, or even worth mentioning.

    The House and Senate didn’t meet for reconciliation. The House passed the Senate bill

    I’m fairly sure you mean conference committee, which would be necessary to resolve differences between the Senate and House bills. Given that the House passed the Senate bill, there was no need for a conference. Again, not unusual.

    [the House] then wrote a reconciliation bill which it and the Senate passed.

    The reconciliation process has existed for a long time, and was only used for minor budgetary changes.

    My problems are: that the Senate bill constituted a spending bill which should have been produced by the House

    Irrelevant nonsense that ignores how commonplace this actually is in Congress.

    the House and Senate didn’t meet for reconciliation

    There were no differences for a conference committee to address.

    because they didn’t believe they could produce a compromise bill that could get 60 votes in the Senate

    The Senate had already passed the bill with 60 votes.

    the House used a reconciliation bill to make substantial minor budgetary changes to the bill that they’d just passed earlier that day.

    Fixed it for you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  40. grewgills says:

    @Pinky:

    I’d say that the means by which the House and Senate produced Obamacare was the worst abuse of the system I’ve ever seen.

    Can you explain how the House voting to accept the exact same legislation as the Senate to avoid the lengthy process of going to conference (which would have pushed it into the next legislative session) on a bill that had been public for months prior to the senate vote was the worst abuse of process ever?
    How is that worse than republicans (Dick Armey if memory serves) handing out checks on the floor or the house when pushing for votes or holding votes open for hours while they gathered the necessary votes then quickly closing the vote when they reached the threshold?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  41. mantis says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Surely you can see that there is something a bit weird about recommending and then blocking the same person for office (unless some information emerged between the recommendation and the block to cause one to change one’s mind–but there is not evidence to suggest that this is what happened).

    You forget, IOKIYAR.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  42. David M says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    there is something a bit weird about recommending and then blocking the same person for office (unless some information emerged between the recommendation and the block to cause one to change one’s mind–but there is not evidence to suggest that this is what happened).

    To be fair to Burr, something did change. Obama actually nominated May-Parker, which has always been reason enough for the GOP to oppose someone.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  43. Pinky says:

    @David M:

    Obama actually nominated May-Parker, which has always been reason enough for the GOP to oppose someone.

    Not really. President Obama has appointed 219 federal judges so far, 107 of those receiving zero votes against. There are 60 nominations on hold.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  44. David M says:

    @Pinky:

    And the GOP is opposing most of them simply because Obama nominated them. Some of the ones receiving zero votes against were still filibustered.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  45. al-Ameda says:

    @Pinky:

    Not really. President Obama has appointed 219 federal judges so far, 107 of those receiving zero votes against. There are 60 nominations on hold.

    What only 60 – or 28% of those nominated – are on hold simply because Barack Obama is the president? That’s good to know.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  46. Kari Q says:

    @Pinky:

    Actually, Pinky, this is the problem. Nominees are delayed or blocked even though the individual nominee is completely non-controversial. It is taking extraordinary measures to get nominees confirmed even when no one has a problem with the nomination.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0