WHAT'S THE HOLDUP? Plaskett, Payne Weigh In On U.S. Attorney Confirmation Delay

WHAT’S THE HOLDUP? Plaskett, Payne Weigh In On U.S. Attorney Confirmation Delay

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — Virgin Islands Senator-at-Large Steven Payne Jr. said Monday that he’d written a letter to U.S. Senator Tom Cotton “expressing outrage that partisan politics is standing in the way of the U.S. Senate confirming the first Black woman to be the U.S. Attorney for the U.S. Virgin Islands.”

Payne referred to the historic nomination of Assistant U.S. Attorney Delia Smith by President Joe Biden.

Smith “is a highly qualified St. Johnian whose knowledge, talents, and experiences render her uniquely suited for this most prominent position,” Payne said in a released statement.

The V.I. senator added he is “appalled and disgusted that a U.S. Senator from Arkansas would exercise partisan politics regarding an issue in Portland, Oregon no less, throwing one of our own under the bus, for the purpose of getting back at the Biden Administration.”

According to a report by Fox News, Cotton, a Republican from Arkansas, is concerned that Biden’s Justice Department may not pay to defend U.S. marshals who protected a federal courthouse in Portland during Black Lives Matter protests in the summer of 2020, and demanded a response.

V.I. Delegate to Congress Stacey Plaskett, who recommended Smith for the top job, said when contacted that she is looking forward to seeing Smith confirmed as the next U.S. Attorney for the Virgin Islands.

“While Senate Rules allow Senators to hold up nominations for issues not germane, not relevant, to a particular nominee (which is the case with Ms. Smith and several other nominees), I’m hopeful that Sen. Schumer will quickly resolve the present issues so that Mrs. Smith’s vote, along with others, will advance,” she said, referring to Democratic minority leader, Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York.

Plaskett indicated there was movement afoot to continue to move Smith’s nomination forward.

“I’m excited that both the Democratic and Republican Senate staff have agreed to move forward with the process required for our nominee Delia Smith, to be confirmed as U.S. Attorney for the Virgin Islands. The activity that has taken place around Mrs. Smith’s nomination so far is a very positive sign,” Plaskett said.

On Thursday in Washington, D.C., the Senate Judiciary Committee met and was set to vote on Smith and several others nominated to positions across the United States by Biden.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said, however, that the committee would be holding over four nominations, including Smith’s, at Cotton’s request.

By SUZANNE CARLSON/Virgin Islands Daily News