JUDICIAL NOMINEES….From the Associated Press:
Senate Judiciary Chairman Orrin Hatch says he will make it harder for Democratic senators to block home state nominees for federal judgeships.
At issue is the so-called “blue slip” tradition, referring to blue-colored approval papers that senators are asked to submit on nominees to fill vacant federal judgeships in their state. For the last few years, both home-state senators had to submit a positive blue slip for a nominee to be even considered by the Judiciary Committee.
….Under Hatch’s plan, a single negative blue slip from a senator won’t be enough to stop a Bush nominee.
….After Republicans won control of the Senate in 1994, Democrats say Hatch refused to move a nomination from Democratic President Clinton unless he had positive blue slip approvals from both senators. Former Republican Sen. Jesse Helms of North Carolina used the tactic to block all of Clinton’s court nominees from his state.
But in 2001, when George W. Bush took office, Hatch proposed dropping the requirement down to one blue slip. The suggestion so infuriated Democrats that they delayed nomination hearings for almost six months and even walked out on a Judiciary Committee voting session. That proposal became moot when Jeffords left the Republican Party and gave Democrats control of the Senate.
Let’s recap: When Democrats controlled the Senate and Bush and Reagan were president, they were nice guys and allowed judicial nominations to proceed with only one blue slip.
When Republicans took over the Senate and Clinton was president, Republicans played hardball and demanded two blue slips.
When Bush became president, they suddenly decided that those nice Democrats were right after all: one blue slip should be enough.
Don’t you just love principled conservatives?