President Donald Trump is following through his promise to remake the federal judiciary. He has been successful while facing stiff resistance from the Democrats.
The Democratic party members have used many parliamentary tricks to delay and even block some of the President’s judges, including the blue slip process.
This process allows home state Senators to block judges and has given Dianne Feinstein outsized influence over the picks.
This week the senate will consider two more conservative nominees selected by the President to sit on the left-leaning 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
That is because the nominees, Dan Collins and Ken Lee, were picked without any input from either Dianne Feinstein or Kamala Harris, California’s two Democrat senators. Traditionally, the White House seeks to obtain a so-called “blue slip,” from a judicial nominee’s two home state senators before pressing on with their nominations.
The Trump administration, however, has disregarded that process as it continues it’s push to transform the appellate court that President Trump repeatedly derided as hopelessly biased and “disgraceful.”
“I take it that without notice or discussion, the blue slip is essentially dead,” said Feinstein, the ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, in televised remarks on Thursday. “This change in practice not only harms the Senate, it harms the federal judiciary. And I wish we could’ve had an opportunity to discuss it. I really believe it’s a mistake.”
“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.” she continued.
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.”
Feinstein continued: “There is no justification for disregarding Democratic blue slips. 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,” Feinstein added. “One of the things I’ve learned is: what goes around, comes around. I had hoped that we would be able to work in a very cooperative way.”
Back in January, Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris complained to 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 consensus on a new package of nominees.”