Longest Running Judicial Vacancy in Nation: More Than 2,800 Days Old

A federal district court judgeship in eastern North Carolina has been vacant for more than 2,800 days. It is the longest running judicial vacancy in the country, according to the Raleigh New & Observer, and a home-state senator  may figure into recent delays.

President Obama announced in June his plans to nominate Jennifer May-Parker, a federal prosecutor, for the job. She received a “qualified” rating from an American Bar Association screening panel. Obama’s intention to nominate an African American woman for the post was praised by civil rights advocates advocating for greater diversity on the bench.

Sen. Richard Burr, however, has not signaled to the Senate Judiciary Committee the response that is traditionally required from a home-state senator before the committee will schedule a nomination hearing. Sen. Kay Hagan, a Democrat, has signaled her support for May-Parker. Burr’s office did not give an explanation to the newspaper about Burr’s stance.

Glenn Sugameli, founder of Judging the Environment, told the newspaper, “To believe you would block someone in a district that’s had a vacancy for that long, that’s pretty shocking, amazing and appalling. It’s a festering boil. It’s an open embarrassment for Sen. Burr – or it should be.”

In other news media coverage of judicial nominations, a Miami Herald blog post was headlined, “While Sen. [Marco] Rubio blocks judge confirmation, Florida panel picks 4 new nominees for other openings.” It discussed the federal district court nomination of Judge William L. Thomas (see Gavel Grab) and recommendations of the state’s Federal Judicial Nominating Commission.

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