What is a Blue Slip?

The Constitution requires the President to seek both the “advice and consent” of the Senate in appointing judges to lifetime positions on Federal courts. A blue slip is a piece of paper that the Senate Judiciary Committee uses to solicit views of home state senators after a person is nominated to be a Federal judge in their state. It gives meaning to the “advice” prong of the Senate’s constitutional role. The return of a blue slip usually signifies to the Committee that the President received the advice of the home state senator before the nomination was made. A returned blue slip does not necessarily mean that the home state senators will vote to confirm the nominee. However, it does indicate that the senators elected to represent that state were consulted prior to nomination and that the nominee is likely to be confirmed.