North Carolina needs more Black federal judges, the NAACP says.
In an effort to secure more African-American officials for positions on the federal bench, North Carolina’s largest civil rights organization is calling on the state’s two senators to nominate them.
On Monday, leaders of the state chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, along with allied groups, kicked off a campaign aimed at securing the nomination of a Black judge to the Eastern District of North Carolina, where roughly half the state’s African-American population resides.
The campaign, whose initiation took place outside the federal courthouse in Greenville, urged supporters to call the offices of U.S. Senators Kay Hagan and Richard Burr. Both are responsible for suggesting names of judges to be considered as nominees.
"It is an obscenity that there has never been an African-American federal judge in the Eastern District, where roughly half of North Carolina's African-American population resides," state NAACP President Rev. William Barber wrote in a letter to Hagan and Burr.
The organization says that there has never been a Black federal judge in the Eastern or Western District court.
"With only one African-American federal district court judge presently seated, North Carolina has the least diverse bench of all states in the South," the letter said. The one Black federal judge in the state, James A. Beaty Jr., serves on the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina.
Representatives for both of the senators said that judicial recommendations that include Black judges have been made to President Barack Obama.
They say that they await and look forward to the president’s nomination.
During the first two years of President Obama’s term, more than 70 percent of the judicial nominees that he has confirmed have been “non-traditional,” or nominees who were women or minorities.
Of the 98 Obama nominees confirmed to date, the administration says 21 percent are African-American, 11 percent are Hispanic, 7 percent are Asian-American and almost half — 47 percent — are women. In contrast, among President George W. Bush’s federal court nominations, 18 percent were minorities and 22 percent were female.
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