Joe Biden taps North Carolina’s chief litigator for 4th Circuit Court of Appeals

President Joe Biden has nominated North Carolina’s chief litigator to become a federal appeals court judge, though both of the state’s senators say his elevation to the bench is a “non-starter.”

In his 52nd round of federal judicial nominations, Biden tapped North Carolina Solicitor General Ryan Park for a seat on the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. In making the pick, Biden said Park and the other nominees are “extraordinarily qualified, experienced, and devoted to the rule of law and our Constitution.”

Park has been the Solicitor General of North Carolina since 2020, and previously served as Deputy Solicitor General of North Carolina from 2017 to 2020. He worked as an associate at the Boies, Schiller & Flexner law firm from 2014 to 2017 and in the Office of the Legal Adviser at the U.S. Department of State from 2012 to 2013. As Solicitor General, Park is responsible for representing North Carolina before the U.S. Supreme Court.

He served as a law clerk to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Justice David H. Souter on the U.S. Supreme Court from 2013 to 2014, for Judge Robert A. Katzmann on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from 2011 to 2012, and for Judge Jed S. Rakoff on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York from 2010 to 2011.

Park graduated summa cum laude from Harvard Law School in 2010 and earned his bachelor’s degree from Amherst College in 2005. Before attending law school, he taught English in South Korea on a Fulbright Scholarship

U.S. Sens. Thom Tillis and Ted Budd of North Carolina immediately issued a joint statement opposing Park’s nomination, without stating a specific reason for their disapproval.

“This nomination is a non-starter and the White House has already been informed they do not have the votes for confirmation,” Budd and Tillis said in the statement. “While the White House has fallen short of engaging the advice and consent process in good faith for North Carolina’s judicial vacancies, we still hope to work together to find a consensus nominee who can earn bipartisan support and be confirmed.”

Through the Senate’s “blue slip” process, a nominee’s home-state Senators can derail a judicial nomination by denying the nominee a hearing before Congress. Senators are not required to state a reason for denying a confirmation hearing to a nominee from their home state

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