Monday, December 02, 2013


Eleanor Clift reminds us that GOP senators have another way to derail a judicial nominee by not returning the blue slip:
When a president nominates a judge, the senators from the nominee’s home state are notified via a letter written on blue paper, which asks the senator to approve or disapprove of the nomination. If a senator doesn’t return a blue slip, as Republican senators have been wont to do, it sounds like a minor lapse, like returning a library book late. But in the Senate, this quaint tradition is enough to kill a judicial nomination.

Ten currently pending judicial nominees could have had a hearing by now if their home-state senators had returned their blue slips. Intended as a courtesy, it is now the equivalent of a veto. Senators don’t even have to voice a complaint; they can just fail to turn in those blue slips. Several district court nominees from Texas are being blocked by the inaction of Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz. Fve pending nominees call Arizona home, all of whom were designated “judicial emergencies” to serve on understaffed courts.

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