This week’s LOL, through-the-looking-glass moment in conservative politics revolves around the antiquated Senate “blue slip” process whereby home state Senators like North Carolina’s own Richard Burr can unilaterally and without explanation block federal court nominees — even ones they’ve endorsed previously to the President.
As Think Progress contributor Ian Millhiser reports, proposals in the U.S. Senate to temper the rule (as was done previously by Republican Senator Orrin Hatch when he once chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee) are meeting strong resistance from…Senator Orrin Hatch:
“Rolling back the Senate’s so-called ‘blue slip process’ would be ‘disastrous,’ according to an op-ed written by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) on Friday. Which is somewhat of a surprising position for Hatch to take, since he largely abandoned this blue slip process in 2003.
Though enforcement of the blue slip process has varied since it was created in 1917 — for many years it largely just allowed home state senators to advise the Judiciary Committee of their views of a judicial nominee — it has, at times, permitted a home state senator to veto anyone nominated to a federal judgeship in their state. At some points in the Senate’s history, including right now under Senate Judiciary Chair Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the chair of the Judiciary Committee would refuse to schedule a confirmation hearing on a judicial nominee if one or both of the nominee’s home-state senators objected to them.
In 2003, however, when Hatch became Judiciary chair and George W. Bush was president, Hatch decided to stop allowing senators to veto nominees from their state. According to the non-partisan Congressional Research Service, Hatch changed the Judiciary Committee’s procedures so that ‘[a] return of a negative blue slip by one or both home-state Senators does not prevent the committee from moving forward with the nomination — provided that the Administration has engaged in pre-nomination consultation with both of the home-state Senators.’
Now, however, in his Friday op-ed, Hatch claims that it would be wrong for Leahy to do the exact same thing that Hatch did in 2003.”
Read Millhiser’s entire post by clicking here.