North Carolina's two senators are working together to appoint a judge to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, but some political pundits said this increased bipartisan cooperation might not translate to other legislative areas.
Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole and Democratic Sen. John Edwards hope to recommend for the position a North Carolinian to President Bush. This would be the first judge from the state to sit on the court since 1980.
The court's jurisdiction includes Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and the Carolinas, but North Carolina is the only state not represented among the court's judges.
There are 12 judges -- at least two from every other state -- represented on the court, with three seats vacant.
Edwards and former U.S. Republican Sen. Jesse Helms have consistently blocked each other's recommendations for the seat since the Clinton administration, keeping out N.C. judicial nominees.
But Edwards and newly inducted Dole say they are committed to working with each other to agree on a candidate they can recommend to the president.
Cooperation between the two senators will result in a moderate judge nomination, said UNC political science Professor Thad Beyle.
"There hasn't been a judge in the past because Helms didn't like Edwards' nominees and Edwards thought Helms' (nominees) were too conservative," he said. "Dole would be easier to work with -- not with a big ideological set of baggage."
Ending the N.C. judiciary stalemate would benefit the state, said Ferrel Guillory, director of UNC's Program on Southern Politics, Media and Public Life. "A lot of judges and lawyers with businesses would like to have a North Carolina judge who knows the state."