Schumer urges Senate Judiciary chair to buck McConnell and uphold blue slips
Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer put pressure Wednesday on the GOP chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee to retain the “blue slip” process that could give Democrats a path to scuttle some of the president’s judicial nominees.
Mr. Schumer, New York Democrat, told Sen. Charles Grassley, the chairman, to resist calls to de-prioritize the blue slip process — including suggestions from the Senate’s top Republican, Sen. Mitch McConnell.
“The Senate has fewer and fewer mechanisms that create bipartisanship and bring people to an agreement. The blue slips are one of them,” said Mr. Schumer in a press release on Wednesday.
Under a Senate tradition, unless both homestate senators return their blue slips signaling acquiescence, the Senate Judiciary Committee usually won’t proceed with a nomination. The tradition is intended to encourage home-state consultation, but it has become a sort of soft filibuster for both parties, who have used it to stymie nominees of presidents of both parties.
“My personal view is that the blue slip, with regard to circuit court appointments, ought to simply be a notification of how you’re going to vote, not the opportunity to blackball,” Mr. McConnell said last month about the practice.
Sen. Charles E. Schumer told Sen. Charles Grassley to resist calls to de-prioritize the blue slip process.