Elaine Marshall: Following His Mentor Jesse Helms, Burr Continuing Secret Holds On Minority Judges
Speaking with ThinkProgress at the Netroots Nation convention yesterday, U.S. Senate candidate Elaine Marshall (D-NC) harshly rebuked Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) for his use of secret holds on Judges James Wynn and Albert Diaz, who have both been nominated for the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. Wynn, Marshall explained, was denied even a committee hearing when nominated for the same position in 1999 by Bill Clinton, due to Republican obstruction and a secret hold from then-Sen. Jesse Helms (R-NC).
When President Obama renominated Wynn, Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) and Burr supported the decision. Although Wynn cleared the Judiciary Committee, a vote on his confirmation has not been scheduled because, despite his public support for Wynn, Burr placed a hold on Wynn’s nomination. When asked for comment by the press, Burr duplicitously said he that he “applauds Sen. Hagan for her ongoing efforts to encourage Majority Leader Reid to schedule their nominations for votes on the Senate floor.”
Marshall noted that Burr’s two-faced approach to Judge Wynn appeared to echo the tactics of Helms, who made a career of race-baiting, fighting Civil Rights laws, and intentionally blocking African American judges like Wynn
I have to confess that I’m not up on the Jesse Helms analogy (i.e., whether and to what extent Helms gave public support to nominations and then used secret holds to block them), but something is rotten when a Senator is publicly supporting a nomination —and then placing secret holds on it. And it stinks even more when that someone is from NC and the judges in question are minorities. And that certainly is what Burr is doing. Something to keep an eye on and see how it shakes out.