Thursday, April 24, 2014

Senator without a Rearview Mirror

By Ian Millhiser on April 12, 2014 at 12:15 pm

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...

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