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Judiciary war escalates: McConnell gives blue slips a pink slip

12 October 2017, 07:28 | Devin Moran

Mitch McConnell. Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Mitch McConnell

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell has signaled he will end the long-held practice of giving senators a chance to block judicial nominees who would have jurisdiction over their states - a move that comes as McConnell is facing increasing pressure from conservative groups to make the Senate more responsive to President Trump's wishes.

"The majority"-that is, Republicans-will treat a blue slip "as simply notification of how you're going to vote, not as an opportunity to blackball", McConnell told me".

The Senate Judiciary Committee now requires both home-state senators of a judicial nominee to turn in a blue slip ― literally, a blue piece of paper ― to signal support for moving forward with the nominee.

But McConnell spokesman Don Stewart said McConnell was talking about his own view on blue slips, and was not saying that Republicans won't uphold the rule anymore.

"We have not made any announcements about a Conference or committee position", he added.

He mentioned a September article where McConnell said his personal view is that senators shouldn't be able to use blue slips to block appeals court nominees, but should be able to for the lower district court nominees. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa.).

Grassley has been careful not to tip his hand on the looming fight.




"The Senate has fewer and fewer mechanisms that create bipartisanship and bring people to an agreement".

I can not read Foy's quoted statement, however, without thinking that the use of the blue slip to block the the Stras nomination represents a "case" of "abuse" by Minnesota's own Al Franken.

"We are now in October of 2017", the letter said.

Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer expressed hope that Grassley would not follow McConnell's lead.

Trump's most recent wave of nominations came as the Senate is battling over what to do with the "blue slip" practice, which has come under fire from some Republicans. By basically turning over his judicial nominating process to hard-core ideologues, Donald Trump has gone a long way toward overcoming the mistrust of Republican presidents among those whose primary focus is to reverse federal court precedents legalizing abortion and same-sex marriage, and allowing the expansion of the federal government at the expense of property owners. The White House has been working closely with the right-leaning Federalist Society to pick his appeals court nominees, many of whom have been young, conservative, and opposed to LGBTQ rights and abortion rights. "Trump has so far sent nominees for 50 of the current vacancies".

Democratic Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenThe Hill's 12:30 Report The Hill's 12:30 Report John Oliver rips AT&T-Time Warner merger MORE (D-Minn.) has said he will not return a blue slip for Trump's nominee for the 8th Circuit, David Stras. McConnell told Barnes that he can make that work, presumably by scheduling the Senate for continuous session and forcing Democrats to spend their debate time on the graveyard shift. It is now holding up such nominees as AUSA Ryan Bounds of OR and state supreme court Justice David Stras of Minnesota. The judiciary committee is run by Senator Grassley, and it's up to him to decide who gets a hearing. Chuck Grassley. And one thing that Grassley did not appear to appreciate Wednesday was McConnell stepping on his turf like this.

In a statement, Taylor Foy, a spokesman for Grassley, said that the senator has a tradition of using blue slips, and "expects senators and the president to continue engaging in consultation when selecting judicial nominees".



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