Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) was in Brussels when the terrorist attacks happened. He told ABC11 it brought national security into new focus and reinforced the idea that the United States has to lead and assist allies in the fight against ISIL, Al Qaeda, and other terrorist groups.
Burr also talked about his resistance to holding confirmation hearings for Merrick Garland, President Obama's nominee for the vacancy on the Supreme Court.
"What we've chosen to do is put precedent over person," Burr said. "The precedent is for almost 80 years, we haven't allowed an administration to make a nomination and have a vote in the last year of their presidency. We believe the Supreme Court shouldn't be a political pawn and to protect that, we want to make sure no Republican or Democrat president in the future takes the opportunity to coerce justices to retire and stack a deck in their last year of an administration."
Today, the NAACP came out swinging, urging Republicans including North Carolina senators Burr and Thom Tillis to confirm Garland.
"Knowing the important work that the U.S Supreme Court does and will do in the future," said NC NAACP attorney Irv Joyner, "it is necessary for the court to have a full complement and therefore we are calling out Senator Burr and Senator Tillis for refusing to do the job they were elected to do."
Burr acknowledged a chief concern of not confirming a nominee, but was unapologetic. "This means we'll go through the balance of this year where the potential is for a 4-4 vote. That's certainly better than attempts Franklin Roosevelt made to expand the court and coerce justices to retire."
On other topics, Burr touched on the controversial HB2 -- a so-called "transgender bathroom bill" that restricts the rights of many groups and municipalities. "I'll leave it up to the courts," he said, "to determine whether the state does this, but there's no room for discrimination in America, and I think this bill does not discriminate because it embraced what's in the Title 7 statute."
As for the Presidential race, Burr repeated that he would support the eventual Republican nominee and said he would rather run on the same ticket as Trump than be in the position of Democratic candidates. Why? Voter enthusiasm, which Burr sees as Republican's trump card, regardless of who's on top of the party's ticket.
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Burr talks Supreme Court, HB2 and more with ABC11
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