Critics Say Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Is Enabling GOP Obstructionism

The Democratic chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee mentioned Tuesday that he’s not able to ditch the arcane custom that has given particular person Republican lawmakers veto power over nominees for federal court docket seats of their residence states.

“We’re not at that time but,” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-In poor health.) told HuffPost when requested if he’s contemplating scrapping the so-called “blue slip courtesy” — a non-binding rule that Republicans tossed aside for circuit court docket nominees once they final managed the Senate.

When a senator returns a blue slip, they’re indicating they are going to permit a judicial nomination to proceed. Earlier this month, Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) announced she wouldn’t be returning a blue slip for Scott Colom, who President Joe Biden nominated to serve on the U.S. District Courtroom for the Northern District of Mississippi.

However Hyde-Smith’s resolution, which successfully tanked Colom’s nomination regardless that he had bipartisan assist within the Senate, wasn’t sufficient for Durbin to desert the blue slip course of — although he said earlier this week that “her conduct and the timing of her resolution have made it extraordinarily troublesome” to protect the custom.

On high of the prolonged and indefinite absence of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Durbin’s continued adherence to the blue slip rule has allowed Republicans to dramatically gradual the judicial affirmation course of, leaving open dozens of vacancies as right-wing judges they’ve accepted lately wreak havoc across the country.

In remarks throughout a Senate Judiciary Committee listening to on Tuesday, Durbin mentioned the blue slip course of “has a protracted historical past, however there have been situations of success and failure.”

“We have now an illustration of success as we speak,” Durbin mentioned, noting that three Biden nominees acquired blue slips from senators who symbolize their residence states, together with Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Invoice Cassidy (R-La.).

However as HuffPost’s Jennifer Bendery noted, Durbin “has so many causes to nix” the non-binding rule, one thing he can do unilaterally.

“Democrats returned greater than 130 blue slips through the Trump admin, confirming 84 district judges in states with no less than one or two Dem senators,” Bendery wrote on Twitter. “Greater than two years into the Biden admin, Republicans have returned 13 blue slips. That’s as of final month.”

“Progressive judicial teams are virtually shouting from the mountaintops to ditch blue slips,” Bendery continued. “Republicans did it for years with Trump’s court docket picks, as Dems fumed from the sidelines. The consequence? Trump confirmed an enormous [number] of right-wing ideologues to lifetime court docket seats.”

Chris Kang, the chief counsel for Demand Justice, informed Bendery that if Durbin refuses to “reform the outdated blue slip custom,” he’s endorsing “the worst form of excessive Republican obstructionism.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to consider 13 Biden judicial nominees throughout a listening to scheduled for Thursday.

Durbin mentioned throughout Tuesday’s listening to that he hopes Republicans and Democrats on the judiciary panel can “attempt to discover widespread floor,” remarks that got here shortly earlier than the GOP blocked Democrats’ request to quickly change Feinstein on the committee as she recovers from shingles.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) objected to Senate Majority Chief Chuck Schumer’s (D-N.Y.) unanimous consent request to exchange Feinstein with Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), saying, “That is a few handful of judges you can’t get the votes for.”

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), who has urged Feinstein to resign, mentioned in response to the GOP’s obstruction that “the ball is now again in Senator Feinstein’s court docket to offer a selected timeline of when she will solid votes on judiciary to verify President Biden’s judges.”

“Daily she is just not on judiciary is hurting our capability to verify one other decide who will defend ladies’s rights and voting rights,” Khanna told NBC Information. “I hope extra will select democracy over decorum and converse out about what’s painfully apparent. It’s time for Sen. Feinstein to step apart to have a dignified conclusion to her public service profession.”

​​30 seconds is all it takes to make a distinction

Because the world adjustments at an unprecedented tempo, we want moral, impartial information greater than ever earlier than. We want journalists who can examine, report, and analyze complicated points with honesty and integrity. We want journalists who can maintain these in energy accountable, shine a light-weight on injustices, and provides voice to the unvoiced.

Truthout depends on reader donations to take care of this sanctuary for sincere, justice-driven journalism. We have now simply 8 days left in our fundraiser and $46,500 nonetheless to boost — we want all our associates to assist us attain this purpose. It takes lower than 30 seconds to present, so should you worth a free and impartial press, please make a tax-deductible donation as we speak!