For a long time—nearly a century, according to Senator Dianne Feinstein (D, CA)—the Senate had a tradition (not a rule) that Senators from the home State of a judicial nominee had to approve that nominee—send forward a “blue slip” before that nominee could be considered, or even sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The administration of President Donald Trump has tended to disregard that tradition. In fact, he’s sent seven—according to Feinstein, again—appellate court nominees to the Senate over “the objection of home-state Democrats” and—the horror—gotten them confirmed, including a number to the California-based 9th Circuit.
Feinstein’s latest peeve concerns Ken Lee and Dan Collins, whom Trump has nominated—to the 9th Circuit. Both Feinstein and her California colleague, Senator Kamala Harris (D) withheld their blue slips for both of these two judges.
Feinstein is pretending to object on the basis of tradition, which itself cynically holds tradition to be inviolate, no matter the circumstances.
Democratic senators have made and continue to make good faith efforts to find consensus picks for the circuit courts.
As Senator Harris and I have made clear, we’ve been willing to work from the start with this president to choose consensus, mainstream nominees to the 9th Circuit….
Except that they have not. These two nominees, along with the other Trump nominees—and confirmations, including to the 9th—are textualists: they hold that the Constitution (and laws) mean what they say; they are not open to reinterpretation according to a judge’s view of the “needs” of society. It doesn’t get any more mainstream than that. Indeed, any lack of consensus just shows how out of touch with our supreme Law, how out of the mainstream, modern Liberal judges are.
But the fact is, Feinstein and her fellows are not objecting on the basis of tradition. They’re objecting on the basis of the loss of their ability to dictate who they will permit to be nominated, their ability to avoid open debate on the fitness of a nominee.
We’ve seen, too, the quality of the “faith” with which Feinstein and her fellows have been willing to work from the start with this president on judicial nominees. These Progressive-Democrats made that clear with their smear campaign on then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
The blue slip policy is a tradition the Progressive-Democrats have badly abused to the point of its partisan destruction.