Friday, Congressman G. K. Butterfield (NC-01) released the following statement calling on Senator Richard Burr (NC) to reconsider his obstruction of Justice Patricia Timmons-Goodson to serve as District Judge for the Eastern District of North Carolina:
“I was disappointed to learn that Senator Burr will oppose granting a hearing and vote on the nomination of Justice Patricia Timmons-Goodson to serve as District Judge for the Eastern District of North Carolina.
“This immediate reactionary statement from Senator Burr is reminiscent of the political decision of Senate Republicans to block consideration of Judge Merrick Garland, President Obama’s nominee to the United States Supreme Court. Senators should not politicize the Court. They have an obligation to seriously consider any judicial nominee offered by the President of the United States.
“The Eastern District judicial vacancy is the longest vacant judgeship in the United States. It has remained unfilled since December 31, 2005; a total of 3772 days. Senator Burr apparently doesn’t understand that the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts has declared this vacant position as a judicial emergency.
“President Obama previously nominated Jennifer May-Parker, an African-American federal prosecutor, to serve in this position in 2013. Senator Burr blocked consideration of this well-qualified nominee and has vowed to do the same in the nomination of Justice Timmons-Goodson.
“It cannot be overlooked that no African-American has ever served on the bench in the Eastern District. I am confident that President Obama selected Justice Timmons-Goodson because of her intellect and experience and because she will bring much needed racial diversity to the Court.
“I call on my friend and colleague, Senator Richard Burr, to reconsider his obstruction of Patricia Timmons-Goodson, a well-qualified African-American woman who is prepared to serve in the federal judiciary. Senator Burr should not obstruct her ability to have a fair hearing and a vote of the full Senate.”