Right Hooks

Dems Exploit Obstruction Tactic to Stall Judges

Jordan Candler · Jul. 13, 2017

According to The Washington Times, “No Democrat has yet returned a ‘blue slip’ signaling acceptance of President Trump’s federal judicial picks — an ominous sign for Republicans, who fear it signals an upcoming attempt to slow-walk the administration’s plans to reshape the federal judiciary.” As The Daily Signal explains, “Under Senate tradition, the committee doesn’t hold hearings for a judicial nominee until his or her home-state senators submit ‘blue slips’ showing their consent to advancing the nomination.”

Because of this, the nominations of David Stras, a Minnesota supreme court justice, and Joan Larsen, a Michigan supreme court justice, are stuck in limbo. Justices Stras and Larsen are slated to join the Eighth and Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, respectively — that is, if Democrats would stop obstructing. It might be a tradition to await so-called blue slips from home-state senators, but Democrats, whose hamstringing is a big reason why just 48 of 197 nominees have cleared the Senate, see this as yet another way to obstruct Trump’s agenda.

This may force Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley to act unilaterally. Justices Stras and Larsen are hardly unfamiliar, as the White House has pointed out. An anonymous Trump official stated for the record, “The administration has been seeking consultation from home-state senators for months — even as senators frequently fail to return our calls, don’t respond to our inquiries and otherwise avoid our constant overtures.” The official wryly added, “Choosing an Eighth Circuit nominee in Minnesota shouldn’t take twice as long as it took to build the Empire State Building.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein suggests reforming the process is tantamount to a double standard because, the Times says, “Republicans were able to block several of President Obama’s picks by failing to return blue slips.” But Democrats have publicly said they will do whatever they can to resist the Trump agenda out of spite. Therefore, Grassley would do well to end this unnecessary blockade — particularly when the blockade is a masquerade to protect Barack Obama’s leftist courts.

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