Sun | May 31, 2020

Trump nominates J’can law professor for judicial vacancy

Published:Friday | August 16, 2019 | 12:31 AM

RALEIGH, North Carolina (AP):

United States President Donald Trump has nominated a Jamaican law professor who previously worked as a prosecutor, defence attorney and journalist to fill the longest federal judiciary vacancy.

Trump nominated Richard E. Myers on Wednesday to be a trial judge in the Eastern District of North Carolina. The state’s two Republican senators recommended Myers for the job.

Raleigh lawyer Thomas Farr had been nominated to become a US District judge four times – twice by President George W. Bush and twice by Trump – but never received confirmation.

Civil rights groups had heavily criticised Farr for his work defending state voting and redistricting laws that judges had declared discriminated against black voters, as well as for his role as a campaign lawyer for then-Sen Jesse Helms. Last year, Farr’s elevation was stopped when two Republican senators from outside North Carolina announced their opposition to his nomination.

There’s been an eastern North Carolina judicial vacancy since January 2006, the longest in the country, according to a list from the US Administrative Office of the Courts. President Barack Obama nominated two black women for the judgeship during his tenure, but Republicans blocked both candidates.

Myers, a native of Kingston, Jamaica, grew up in the coastal North Carolina city of Wilmington, where he worked as a newspaper reporter in the early 1990s. Myers got his law degree from the University of North Carolina’s School of Law in Chapel Hill and is now a professor there. He previously clerked at the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and was a federal prosecutor in both California and later North Carolina, when he worked on white collar and violent crime cases.