In the United States Senate, a place that considers itself genteelly collegial above all else, there is a long-standing tradition that when a president nominates men and women for the judiciary, the Senators from that person’s home state are free to opine on the candidate’s suitability for the bench. If the senator in question has no objection to the candidate, they are “blue slipped.”
According to Senator Dianne Feinstein, for the first time in over a hundred years, the Trump Administration, as well as the Senate, are flat out ignoring both her and her fellow senator from California, Kamala Harris, on judges nominated from their state.
“I take it that without notice or discussion, the blue slip is essentially dead,” Feinstein, the ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in televised remarks on Thursday. “This change in practice not only harms the Senate, but it also harms the federal judiciary. And I wish we could’ve had an opportunity to discuss it. I really believe it’s a mistake.”
Feinstein, whose handling of the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation process still rankles conservatives, went on: “Before President Trump took office, the blue slip had been a Senate practice for nearly one century. And during the past 100 years, before this presidency, the Senate confirmed only five judges with only one blue slip, and the last one was in 1989 – and in 100 years the Senate had never confirmed a judge without two blue slips.”
That little factoid might well explain the ninth circuit, and the objection to the abandonment of the blue slip practice from Feinstein as the Trump White House has been steadily nominating conservative judges to that particular bench since the Republican majority took hold in the Senate.
But “since President Trump took office,” Feinstein charged, “Republicans have held hearings for 12 circuit court nominees and voted to confirm seven – seven – over the objection of home-state Democrats.”
Among those nominees was Seattle attorney Eric Miller, who was confirmed to the 9th Circuit in February by a vote of 53-46. Progressives fiercely attacked Miller as a corporate lawyer and Federalist Society member whose career supposedly had been hostile to Native American rights….
In January, Feinstein and Harris lashed out at the White House with a similar statement: “We are deeply disappointed that the White House has chosen to re-nominate Daniel Collins and Kenneth Lee to the 9th Circuit. We made clear our opposition to these individuals and told the White House we wanted to work together to come to a consensus on a new package of nominees.”
And since the 9th Circuit is the go to court whenever Democrats want to stop conservative legislation or moves in their tracks, the Senators object to the bench being rebuilt along the ideological lines of the president, and the rest of the nation.
Yes, it is that transparent.