When his nomination to become a special superior court judge, pushed back to the very end, was finally heard by the North Carolina House on June 28th, Bryan E. Beatty, an African-American, and former State Bureau of Investigations director and former NC Secretary of Crime Control and Public Safety, was referred to in clearly unflatteringly terms by his House Republican sponsor on the floor as “…a former employee of the state Department of Justice.”

That, and apparently a House Republican Caucus meeting earlier that morning that the House had to recess for shortly after ratifying two white judicial nominees, is how Gov. Roy Cooper’s nomination of Sec. Beatty went down in partisan, and some say “racial,” flames.

And thus far, not one Republican House member has come forward to say why, even when asked for this story.

Black leaders and state Democrats are calling how Beatty was treated “pettiness at an all-time high,” not only for it’s racial implications, but clear evidence of animus toward yet another Democratic governor.

“[It was]…quite blatant,” remarked Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, president of the NC NAACP.

“It was shameful and disrespectful,” echoed Rep. Pricey Harrison (D-Guilford)

For his part, though he was upset with how he was treated, Sec. Beatty, who has over thirty years law enforcement experience with the state, refuses to theorize why Republican majority lawmakers in the House voted down his judicial nomination, 65 – 47, without stated reason.

“Yes, I was very surprised, and disappointed when they voted not to confirm,” the Salisbury native said in an exclusive phone interview last week.

Beatty says Gov. Cooper asked him personally in May if he would consider serving as a special superior court judge, with a five-year term, and if so the governor would nominate the former secretary of Crime Control and Public Safety to fill a vacancy created in March. But Cooper warned that the legislature had the final word.

Beatty accepted, and on May 23rd, the Governor’s Office officially announced that Beatty, along with Chief District Court Judge J. Stanley Carmical of Robeson County – a white male – and Chief District Court Judge Athena Brooks of Buncombe County – a white female and a Republican – were judicial nominees. A letter was sent to Republican legislative leadership formally nominating the governor’s picks.

“These nominees bring extensive experience in our justice system to these new roles and are highly qualified to serve as Special Superior Court judges,” Gov. Cooper said in a statement then.

Two of the three nominees were interviewed by the House Rules Committee, the Senate Nominations Committee, and the Senate Judiciary Committee just prior to their nominations being voted on June 28th in the House {Judge Brooks couldn’t make the Senate Judiciary Committee interview).

Beatty recalls each committee being “very cordial, very supportive.”

All three were to be confirmed by separate House Joint Resolutions, sponsored by Republican Rep. David Lewis of Harnett, who is Rules Committee chair, and also heads up the House’s controversial voter ID and redistricting efforts.

On the morning of June 28th, according to an archived recording of that House session, after a glowing introduction by Lewis on the floor, Both Brooks and Carmical were confirmed by wide margin votes (Judge Brooks’ confirmation vote was unanimous).

But strangely, Beatty’s nomination was skipped over and never mentioned.

In fact, shortly after Brooks and Carmical were ratified, Speaker Moore immediately announced “Members, we’re going to take a very brief recess, and we’re going to come back at 11 a.m.”

Moore added that the Republican majority leader Bell told him that the Republican members “…need to caucus.”

When the House session reconvened, Sec. Beatty’s nomination was finally introduced as the very last bill to hit the floor.

But instead of giving the usual glowing appeal to support a measure he sponsored, the House archival recording actually shows Rep. Lewis downplaying Beatty’s accomplishments and qualifications to be a special superior court judge, calling the former state secretary and Cabinet officer, “…a graduate of the University of North Carolina School of Law, and a former employee of the North Carolina Dept. of Justice, the State Bureau of Investigation, NC Dept. of Crime Control and Public Safety, and most recently, a commissioner of the NC Utilities Commission.”

After noting that the governor has nominated Beatty to fill one of the three vacancies for special superior court judge, Rep. Lewis ended in low-key delivery with a lackluster, “I recommend him to you.”

Lewis’ introduction of Beatty’s nomination was so lackluster, that House Democratic Minority Leader Darren Jackson immediately took the floor, and spoke “wholeheartedly” about Sec. Beatty’s background and qualifications, including that he once served as an SBI agent, graduated law school, in private practice, assistant state attorney general, state inspector general, deputy attorney general, director of the State Bureau of Investigations, secretary of Crime Control and Public Safety, and finally served on the state Utilities Commission.

“He’s extremely well-qualified,’ Rep. Jackson concluded.

But to no avail. Without any objections from the Republican House majority, Beatty’s nomination was sounded voted down.

Thirteen Republican House members were asked early Monday by email to explain why they voted against Bryan Beatty’s judicial nomination. None of them – including Rep. Lewis and Speaker Moore – responded to our request for comment.

“What the Republicans did behind closed doors was a disservice,” said Sen. Erica Smith (D – Bertie), char of the NC Legislative Black Caucus. It was definitely something that was unprecedented.”

Beatty says he understands why “people are upset…why they would be that way.”

He added that he “was ready to serve,” and lamented that there is a superior court vacancy that has gone unfilled.

And if Gov. Cooper called again and asked Bryan Beatty to come out of retirement to serve in another appointed position, Beatty said, “Oh yeah. Whatever the governor needed me to do.”