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Richard Burr’s election to the John Edwards’s Senate seat is going to have a big impact on three judicial nominations in NC.

The election of Republican Richard Burr to the Senate is responsible for the change. Now, the judicial candidates will have the backing of both Burr and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C.

Outgoing Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., had blocked the nominations, using a Senate procedure that former U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., also used to block Clinton administration nominations.

The three judges in question are Bob Conrad of Charlotte, nominated to federal court in North Carolina’s Western District; James Dever of Raleigh, Eastern District of North Carolina; and U.S. District Judge Terrence Boyle of Edenton, President Bush’s choice for the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond.

Boyle is likely to be the most controversial of the three and the possible focus of a Democratic filibuster.

Edwards, a former trial lawyer, stalled all three judge candidates by invoking a Senate tradition that generally requires both home-state senators to OK a judicial nominee.

He objected to Boyle’s nomination, telling Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, that Boyle “has inaccurately interpreted the law in a way that undercuts basic civil rights protections.”

Edwards has never publicly explained why he refused to let the nominations of Conrad and Dever come before the Judiciary Committee.

…Edwards did support other Bush nominees, including Brent McKnight of Charlotte and Allyson Duncan of Raleigh. McKnight is now a U.S. District judge in Western North Carolina; Duncan now sits on the 4th Circuit Court.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding