McConnell: Democratic 'blue slips' won't block Trump judges

Senate Majority Leader Mitch Mc Connell of Ky. talks to Kentucky farmer Mike Back at Mahan Farms in Paris Ky Monday Oct. 9 2017. Sen. Bob Corker is hardly the only Republican lambasting Donald Trump and raising dark concerns about harm the president

Senate Majority Leader Mitch Mc Connell of Ky. talks to Kentucky farmer Mike Back at Mahan Farms in Paris Ky Monday Oct. 9 2017. Sen. Bob Corker is hardly the only Republican lambasting Donald Trump and raising dark concerns about harm the president

Grassley has so far been reluctant to end the blue-slip tradition, even as past judiciary panel chairmen, including Sen.

In an interview with the Weekly Standard, McConnell, R-Ky., stressed that the use of "blue slips" - named after the piece of paper that senators from a potential federal judge's state must sign to indicate their approval - is a custom, not a rule, and that the use of them will no longer be enforced.

The conservative Weekly Standard published an interview with McConnell Wednesday suggesting the GOP leaders had made a decision to get rid of blue slips. "He has also said on many occasions that the full Senate should dedicate more time to considering nominees that have already been reported out of the Judiciary Committee". But McConnell's remarks on Wednesday set off alarm bells among top Democrats and allied outside groups. By basically turning over his judicial nominating process to hard-core ideologues, Donald Trump has gone a long way toward overcoming the mistrust of Republican presidents among those whose primary focus is to reverse federal court precedents legalizing abortion and same-sex marriage, and allowing the expansion of the federal government at the expense of property owners.

With Democrats now having the ability to - in many states - prevent Trump's judicial nominees from advancing, McConnell told The New York Times recently that he thought the blue-slip practice should be scrapped for circuit-court nominations. "We hope that Chairman Grassley, who has always believed in the traditions of the Senate, will resist Senator McConnell's request".

Trump's most recent wave of nominations came as the Senate is battling over what to do with the "blue slip" practice, which has come under fire from some Republicans.

And every GOP senator, including McConnell and Grassley, sent a letter to President Obama in 2009 warning that if they weren't consulted, and didn't approve of, nominees from their home states they wouldn't let them move forward. The blue slip process represents more than simply a longstanding practice: it's a way for senators to protect their constituents from extremism and cronyism.

McConnell won't change the 30-hour debate rule, Barnes reports, which Democrats used to great effect on Trump's earlier Cabinet appointee confirmations to gum up the works. Ryan Bounds, on the other hand, has been blocked by both OR senators, who claim that Trump didn't consult with them on the choice. They did away with the 60-vote filibuster for lower-court nominees when they held the majority in 2013, and Republicans followed suit by ending the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees earlier this year. Grassley has called for the Senate to skip recesses (in fact, senators are away this week) until the backlog is resolved.

In a statement, Taylor Foy, a spokesman for Grassley, said the senator has a tradition of using blue slips and "expects senators and the president to continue engaging in consultation when selecting judicial nominees".

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