Race, judgeships and politics | Arkansas Blog

Race, judgeships and politics

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Main Justice, a website that follows the U.S. Justice Department, provides more details on the curious case of Carlton Jones of Texarkana. A late addition to the slate of nominations from Sens. Mark Pryor and Blanche Lincoln for a federal judgeship, he more recently had been pushed as a nominee for U.S. attorney in the western district of Arkansas.

Some black lawyers took the change of direction as a slap, because it meant all four federal judicial openings in Arkansas would go to whites. The odds of that have grown stronger now that Carlton Jones has taken himself out of the running for the U.S. attorney seat. As we reported previously, he's running for prosecutor in Texarkana. He cites family considerations for the change, but some think he's just being diplomatic.

What's happened is a political screwup by the Arkansas senators. They had their favorites for openings, as senators in the majority always do, and intended to push them through. But between their utter tone deafness to broader politics and the Obama administration's lackadaisacal approach to filling vacancies, they have a political snafu on their hands. It's another black mark with black voters, at a minimum. From the article:

But some black leaders say they aren’t happy.

“We are now in an election season and we can’t say we got anything productive out of the Democratic Party,” Arkansas NAACP president Dale Charles said in an interview with Main Justice. “We’re not satisfied with being left out of the process.”

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