President Trump is following through on his pledge to remake the federal judiciary. He has been wildly successful while facing stiff resistance from the Democrats.
They have used many parliamentary tricks to delay and even block some of Trump’s judges, including the blue slip process.
That process allows home state Senators to block judges and has given Dianne Feinstein outsized influence over the picks. But that is all over now.
From Fox News: The Senate is poised this week to consider two more conservative nominees selected by President Trump to sit on the left-leaning 9th Circuit Court of Appeals — and the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee isn’t happy about it.
That’s because the nominees, Ken Lee and Dan Collins, 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,” or approval, from a judicial nominee’s two home-state senators before pressing on with their nominations.
But the Trump administration, which has successfully nominated several conservative judges to the 9th Circuit already, has pointedly disregarded that process as it continues its push to transform the appellate court that the president repeatedly has derided as hopelessly biased and “disgraceful.”
“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, it harms the federal judiciary. And I wish we could’ve had an opportunity to discuss it. I really believe it’s a mistake.”
Feinstein 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.”
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.
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.”
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 consensus on a new package of nominees.”