Boring but important
Senate abandons ‘blue slips’ for judges
The Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee last week eliminated one of the last tools Democrats had for blocking President Trump’s judicial nominees. Sen. Chuck Grassley scheduled hearings for two potential federal appeals court judges over the objections of their home-state senators, bypassing the Senate’s long-standing “blue slip” tradition. Under the unofficial rule, which dates back a century, senators provide an actual blue slip stating whether or not they approve of a nominee from their state. If they don’t approve, the nomination is effectively blocked. Four Democrats have not returned blue slips this year. During the last two years of Obama’s presidency, Republicans used blue slips to block hearings for nine of his nominees.