“Blue Slips” are apparently a tradition in the U.S. Senate. Unless the Senators from the home state of a nominee-to-be judge for a Federal judgeship sign and return the Blue Slip, no vote will be held unless or until that Blue Slip has been signed, the vote on the proposed appointment being withheld unless and until the Senator(s) from the judge’s home state finally signs and returns the Blue Slip. The Obama Administration played this game for as long as 800 days. Basically, this arcane rule gives even a single Senator the ability to withhold the vote on a nominee for an open judgeship if the Senator decides he or she is not fit for the seat or simply decides to play the childish game this really is in the final analysis.
As almost all have noticed, and now abide by, we now have a Republican President who is given the right/privilege to nominate Federal judicial appointees for open seats for the consideration by Congress. The dance of the now impotent has been ongoing and appears destined to continue simply to avoid an up or down vote thus denying the seat to a judicial appointee nominated by a member of the opposition party.
The offending Dems, in this case, tell anyone who will listen that this delay is the fault of the White House, and yet the White House spokespeople indicate they have engaged in “frequent outreach” only to have their calls ignored and/or simply rebuffed.
This current dust-up involves Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Stras nominated to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, so far obstructed by Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Michigan Supreme Court Justice Joan Larsen nominated to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, so far obstructed by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Sen. Gary C. Peters (D-MI). the obstruction involves their failure, so far, to submit their signed Blue Slips.
Both of these nominees were elected to their present positions by the voters of their respective states, so the stonewalling by the Senators from those states who faced the same voters seems without any justification other than maybe from a “but that is how we’ve always done it” lament from the objecting Senators.
These are the kinds of things that are very disconcerting for us voters. We’ve expressed our will and yet the person sitting in a seat belonging to the people stands in the way of the seating of judges sorely needed just because they can. Of course, since this is solely a “courtesy” previously extended by Senators to themselves because they could, it does not make for speedy handling of the people’s will. It is the childish BS we have too often come to expect from people who really ought not to be in office if this is the petty way they choose to discharge their responsibilities.
Let me be blunt. I don’t care if this is a tool being used by Republicans or by Democrats. It is wrong. These Senators are demonstrating they are too childish to be clothed with the powers we’ve given them. I expect that I am voting to send an adult to this or that office, and I expect they will acquit themselves accordingly. On the one hand, Wisconsinites have had Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) initially standing alone to delay the vote on the ObamaCare replacement on the basis of strongly stated opinions as to why that is not yet ready for an up or down vote. He told us why he is doing what he is doing. I can decide he still gets my vote, although he has already said he is done after two terms, or if I’ll find another person more to my liking in the next election.
That is the out-in-the-open governance I expect. There is no time for games to be played at this level of government. An elected person who takes it upon him or herself to ignore the wants and needs of his or her constituents, even constituents favoring the opposition party, ought to have the courage to be out-in-the-open about his or her actions. These little B.S. games that are played do not belong in our Congress. The “blue slips” are simply a device to negate an appointment without having to defend that action by taking the action of casting a vote that will be part of the record of that elected person.
As opposed to being a part of our governing documents, it is a behind-the-scenes device to nullify political outcomes or gain some kind of advantage to be realized in votes yet to come.
Blue Slips – More B.S.