Saturday, 26 May, 2018

The End of the Blue Slip

Conservative leaders call on Mc Connell to resign over legislative gridlock Camille Fine
Ellis Copeland | 12 October, 2017, 12:13

With Democratic Senator Al Franken asserting the right to veto a circuit-court judge from Minnesota, and both Democratic senators from OR objecting to another nominee from their state, push will soon come to shove. "It's just a shame that Senator McConnell is willing to abandon it for circuit court judges", the New York Democrat said in a statement.

McConnell told the Weekly Standard that Republicans will treat blue slips "as simply notification of how you're going to vote, not as an opportunity to blackball". The criticism has also overlooked McConnell's crucial role in the confirmation of Justice Gorsuch, a key to preserving a balanced and perhaps - at some point - a conservative-tilting Supreme Court. 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. In the past, senators have sometimes barred a nominee from their state by refusing to return their slip to the committee, thus preventing a hearing and confirmation.

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. Now it won't be honored at all.

The so-called "30 hours rule"-which provides for 30 hours of debate on a nominee-won't be overturned".

"It is time for you and your leadership team to step aside, for new leadership that is committed to the promises made to the American people", says the letter, which is signed by six activists. But McConnell's remarks on Wednesday set off alarm bells among top Democrats and allied outside groups.

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This definitely escalates the long-running judiciary wars in the Senate, but the blue-slip change just returns it to its usual status quo ante. Only for two significant periods has the blue slip served as a one-person stealth filibuster, and technically doesn't work that way now.

"The goal of the blue slip is to ensure consultation between the White House and home-state senators on judicial nominees from their states".

The report notes that the Judicial Crisis Network, normally a group that supports GOP confirmation efforts, has geared up to launch a quarter-of-a-million dollar ad campaign targeting McConnell's efforts, but those plans are now at least on hold. Upcoming resignations will boost the number of vacancies to 166. That's 207.5 days of nothing but predetermined chatter to endure for these positions to get filled, or roughly every other day between now and the end of the 115th Session of Congress.

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.

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