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View Diary: The potential silver lining to the post-nuclear Republican obstruction (62 comments)

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  •  What about the "blue slip' rule? (1+ / 0-)
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    ek hornbeck

    Currently, it requires judicial nominees to have approval from their home-state senators before they can even move forward which omes in the form of a blue slip returned to the chairman of the Judiciary Committee..

    From Kevin Drum at Mother Jones

    Pre-1994: Generally speaking, only one blue-slip is needed for a nominee to move forward.

       1995-2000: Republicans take control of Senate and decide that two blue slips should be required. This makes it easier to kill Clinton nominees.

       2001: George Bush is elected president. Republicans no longer want to make it easy to block nominees, so they return to the rule that only one blue-slip is required to move forward.

       2001-02: Jim Jeffords defects, putting Democrats back in control of the Senate. They return to the rule requiring two blue-slips to proceed.

       2003: Republicans win back control of the Senate. They up the ante by effectively moving to a zero blue-slip rule: they'll allow hearings on nominees even if no senators return blue-slips. Democrats threaten to filibuster over this rather obvious abuse of power and insist on a return to the two blue-slip rule.

       2007-Present: Democrats win control of the Senate and Pat Leahy of Vermont becomes chairman of the Judiciary Committe. Leahy is a traditionalist who maintains the two blue-slip rule.

    This hurts Obama's nominees in red states  where aggressive Republican refuse to approve even moderate judges. From Sen. Patrick Leahy's office:
    As Chairman and when I served as the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, I have worked with Senate Republicans to consider judicial nominees well into presidential election years.  I have taken steps to make the confirmation process more transparent and fair.  I have ensured that the President consults with home state Senators before submitting a nominee.  I have opened up what had been a secretive blue slip process to prevent abuses.  All the while I have protected the rights of the minority, of Republican Senators.  If Republicans want to talk about the Leahy Rules, those are the practices I have followed.  And I have been consistent.  I hold hearings at the same pace and under the same procedures whether the President nominating is a Democrat or a Republican.  Others cannot say that.

    As Chairman of this Committee, I have steadfastly protected the rights of the minority. I have done so despite criticism from Democrats. I have only proceeded with judicial nominations supported by both home state Senators. That has meant that we are not able to proceed on current nominees from Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, and Louisiana. I even stopped proceedings on a circuit court nominee from Kansas when the Kansas Republican Senators reversed themselves and withdrew their support for the nominee. I had to deny the Majority Leader's request to push a Nevada nominee through Committee because she did not have the support of Nevada's Republican Senator. I will put my record of consistent fairness up against that of any Judiciary chairman.

    So those are the Leahy Rules – respect for and protection of minority rights, increased transparency, consistency, and allowing for confirmations well into presidential election years for nominees with bipartisan support.

    Is the reason Leahy had no objection to ending filibuster of judicial nominees is because he, alone, still is giving the minority the power to obstruct?

    "Information is power. But like all power there are those who want to keep it for themselves" Aaron Swartz, 1986 - 2013

    by TheMomCat on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 06:14:33 PM PST

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