November 16, 2017

Feinstein on Grassley Blue Slip Decision

Washington—Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released the following statement in reaction to Chairman Chuck Grassley’s (R-Iowa) decision to abolish a 100-year-old Senate policy called the blue slip that allows home-state senators to have input on judicial nominees:

“Chairman Grassley’s decision do away with a 100-year old Senate tradition just 10 months into the Trump administration couldn’t be more troubling.

“The lengths to which Republicans are going to jam extremely conservative and controversial nominees through the Senate is unprecedented. What’s happening is diminishing the Judiciary Committee and the Senate and undermining the independence of the federal judiciary.

“There’s a long history as it pertains to the blue slip, but what’s most relevant is the last two years. Republicans shouldn’t have one blue slip policy for Democratic presidents and another for Republican presidents. In 2015 and 2016, Chairman Grassley refused to allow multiple nominees of President Obama’s to have hearings because they didn’t have two blue slips from home-state senators.

• Assistant U.S. Attorney Rebecca Haywood (3rd Circuit-PA)

• Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Lisabeth Tabor Hughes (6th Circuit-KY)

• U.S. District Court Judge Abdul Kallon (11th Circuit-AL)

• Former Indiana Supreme Court Justice Myra Selby (7th Circuit-IN)

• South Carolina Supreme Court Justice Don Beatty (District Court-SC)

• Former Judge Mary Barzee Flores (Southern District-FL)

• Judge Dax Lopez (Northern District-GA)

• Former North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Patricia Timmons-Goodson (Eastern District-NC)

• Anne Traum (District Court-NV)

“Chairman Leahy respected the prerogative of Republican home-state senators, but now Chairman Grassley says he won’t respect the prerogative of Democratic home-state senators.

“There’s only one reason to eliminate the blue slip, and that’s to allow President Trump to completely cut Democrats out of the process of selecting judicial nominees and continue the pattern of selecting nominees far outside the mainstream.

“I also need to correct the record as it relates to the nomination of Carolyn Kuhl in 2003. Chairman Grassley did not accurately represent that history on the Senate floor today. I returned a blue slip on Carolyn Kuhl and said I would reserve judgment on whether to support her nomination until after a hearing. Senator Boxer did not return her blue slip. We sent a joint letter to Chairman Hatch urging that Kuhl not move forward.”

###