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The Blue Slip Dies Quietly

| 7 Comments
Kent blogged here, and I here, about the end of the wildly excessive form of senatorial courtesy known as the blue slip, under which a single senator could block a judicial nominee notwithstanding excellent qualifications and clear majority support.  Some commenters doubted that the blue slip was really dead.  I trust this tidbit from today's Washington Post has laid that to rest:

Senate Republicans are officially blowing up the blue slip this week for circuit court nominees, ending a century-old tradition. Barack Obama and Democrats, when they were in charge, respected the long-standing prerogative of senators to block nominees they don't approve of from their home states. That's one reason there are so many vacancies. But Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) bowed to pressure from the White House and scheduled confirmation hearings for two appellate courts nominees where a home state senator had not returned the blue slip.

The last straw for the blue slip was when Al Franken, taking time off from various other activities, refused to return the blue slip for Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Stras, citing absolutely nothing suggesting that Stras has less than superb judicial qualifications, and settling for the objection that he was "too much like Clarence Thomas."

There's an old line that comes to mind here:  If you abuse a privilege, you lose it.  The Left's willingness to play into President Trump's hands by dead-end, partisan opposition to highly qualified nominees (see, e.g., Neil Gorsuch) continues to be the gift that keeps on giving.

P.S.  It wasn't that Grassley "bowed to pressure from the White House."  It's that Grassley, a gentleman and a respecter of Senate traditions, got pushed over the edge by bovine obstructionism.  

7 Comments

Sen. Franken ...The Democratic senator said Tuesday he will not return a blue slip that would allow the nomination of David Stras to advance to a vote, concerned that the justice is too conservative.
Star Tribune | Sep 5, 2017

~~ Another aspect of this -- not mentioned by the Washington Post writer --
includes that Democrats were able to delay Minnesota's David Stras for
several months using the "Blue Slip" tactic. [He was nominated 8 May.]

It can continue to be used henceforward, if merely as but[t] a grasping
[or groping] symbol for partisan or minority resistance.

~ http://www.startribune.com/franken-will-not-back-trump
-8th-circuit-pick/442784013/

Were you similarly outraged when Republicans blocked numerous Obama appointiees including their outrageous actions in prventing him from appointing a justice to the supreme court?

"Were you similarly outraged when Republicans blocked numerous Obama appointiees including their outrageous actions in prventing him from appointing a justice to the supreme court?"

1. Republicans never used the blue slip to block a SCOTUS nomination. (They also didn't go through anyone's trash).

2. Obama nominated two sitting Justices, both of whom got more opposition Party votes than did Justice Gorsuch.

3. Your premise is legally incorrect to start with. A President does not appoint a Justice to SCOTUS. He nominates a candidate. The Senate must then confirm that candidate. Judge Garland did not win confirmation, and thus did not fulfill the requirements for being seated (neither did Harriet Myers).

4. On the merits (you remember them, no?), is it wise governance to allow a single senator be able to block a well-qualified appellate court nominee who has majority support?

5. Do you doubt that Stas is well-qualified? The ABA doesn't.

6. If unaccountably it were the case that a single senator should, in the abstract, be able to block a qualified judicial candidate, do you think it appropriate, in the present circumstances, for a man like Franken to be able to block a man like Stas?

Again?

Congressional Record, daily edition June 25, 1992, p. S8862, remarks of Senator Biden.

Stras is not nomitatted for the supreme court. So I will again ask the question you did not answer. Did you object to the reupblican practice of repeatedly using the blue slips on Obama's judical nominees?

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2017/05/25/blue-slips-and-judicial-nominees-in-senate/

"So I will again ask the question you did not answer."

Actually, I gave a six-part answer, all of which you avoid in favor of the eight year- old's favorite wail, "But JOHNNY does it!"

I don't care if Johnny does it. I also don't care (that much) that Sotomayor and Kagan got more Republican support than Gorsuch got Democratic support.

But I do care about the merits, and will therefore repeat: Is it wise governance to allow a single senator be able to block a well-qualified appellate court nominee who has majority support?


Fuzzyone, the Dems started this whole thing by stiffing Reagan for a bit, then turning it on with GHW Bush. Then the GOP retaliated with Clinton but to a lot lesser extent even though Clinton nominated a lot of turkeys, e.g., Frederica Messiah-Jackson, Wardlaw, Ronnie White, then the Dems jammed GW Bush.

The Dems started this fight, escalated it, and now whine.

And ask yourself--why is the Ninth Circuit a laughingstock? Dem judges.

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