Delay Filling NC Judicial Vacancy Is Longest In US

McDowell County officials are investigating and testing the water following a large fish kill in the North Fork River.

North Carolina has the longest-running judicial vacancy in the country’s federal district courts, in part because Republican Sen. Richard Burr hasn’t allowed the process forward.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reports ( ) that North Carolina’s eastern judicial district has had a vacancy since the start of 2006 when Judge Malcolm Howard started semi-retirement. That means his seat has been open for more than 2,800 days. The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts considers a post vacant for 2,500 days to be a “judicial emergency.”


President Barack Obama nominated Jennifer May-Parker, a federal prosecutor in the 44-county district that stretches from Raleigh to the coast.

Burr hasn’t acted since June to clear May-Parker for a Senate hearing on the lifetime job. A Burr press aide did not provide an explanation.

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