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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.


Judging the Environment In The News

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Sounding off: BLUE SLIPS AND BIPARTISANSHIP  (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review [PA] , 09/23/17)
Letter to the Editor by Glenn Sugameli, founder and head since 2001 of Judging the Environment , a nonpartisan federal judicial nominations project: All Senate Republicans supported blue slips in a 2009 letter, as did a 2015 Des Moines Register op-ed and a 2016 post-election statement from Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said Grassley “told me he was going to follow the same procedures as chairman” and “has never broken his word to me” over three decades. In a 2014 op-ed titled “Protect the Senate's important ‘advice and consent' role,” Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, stressed that “The blue slip process ... has greatly enhanced consultation and cooperation between home state senators and the White House. ... Weakening or eliminating the blue slip process would sweep aside the last remaining check on the president's judicial appointment power. Anyone serious about the Senate's constitutional ‘advice and consent' role knows how disastrous such a move would be … ultimately produc(ing) a more politicized federal judiciary.”

Casey reportedly submits blue slip for Bibas nomination [updated] (CA3blog, 09/22/17)
Matthew Stiegler: Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Jonathan Tamari posted the following on Twitter yesterday afternoon: Judicial news: @SenBobCasey has returned blue slip on 3d District nominee Stephanos Bibas, clearing way for hearings. 1 of few Ds to do so He meant Third Circuit. He added: BUT, Casey has also told Trump admin he’d use blue slip to block atty David Porter if he’s nominated.... UPDATE2: The first tweet is wrong about Casey being one of “few” Democratic senators to return a blue slip on a Trump circuit nominee. I’m informed by Glenn Sugameli of Judging the Environment and Lena Zwarensteyn of American Constitution Society that Casey is the 6th to do so (plus a 7th who announced she supports a Senate hearing on the nomination), against only 3 who’ve withheld blue slips.

Blue slips & bipartisanship (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review [PA] , 09/18/17)
Glenn Sugameli, Letter to the Editor: Current and former Republican and Democrat Senate Judiciary Committee chairmen explained the bipartisanship embodied in the home-state-senator blue-slip requirement for judicial nominees. This is why, as the editorial “Senate's blue-slip bounce: End this tradition” quoted me, “no circuit court nominees have been confirmed over the [blue slip] davobjection of one (or two) home state senators.” All Senate Republicans supported blue slips in a 2009 letter, as did a 2015 Des Moines Register op-ed and a 2016 post-election statement from Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said Grassley “told me he was going to follow the same procedures as chairman” and “has never broken his word to me” over three decades. In a 2014 op-ed titled “Protect the Senate's important ‘advice and consent' role,” Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, stressed that “The blue slip process ... has greatly enhanced consultation and cooperation between home state senators and the White House. ... Weakening or eliminating the blue slip process would sweep aside the last remaining check on the president's judicial appointment power. Anyone serious about the Senate's constitutional ‘advice and consent' role knows how disastrous such a move would be … ultimately produc(ing) a more politicized federal judiciary.” The writer is founder and head since 2001 of Judging the Environment (judgingtheenvironment.org), a nonpartisan federal judicial nominations project.

McConnell calls for ending Senate tradition that gives Democrats leverage on Trump's judicial nominees (Business Insider, 09/13/17)
Allan Smith: While the denial of a blue slip does not prevent a judge from being approved, Glenn Sugameli, an attorney who is an expert on judicial nominations, told Business Insider in an email last week that "no circuit court nominees have been confirmed over [a blue slip] objection of one (or two) home-state senators — including under Obama."

Trump Nominates Seventh Round of Federal Judges (naked capitalism, 09/10/17)
Jerri-Lynn Scofield: to date, as reported by Business Insider in A Democratic senator’s obscure move highlights the biggest roadblock Trump faces in his quest to remake the courts: "While the denial of a blue slip does not legally restrict a judge from being approved, Glenn Sugameli, an attorney who is an expert on judicial nominations, told Business Insider in an email that 'no circuit court nominees have been confirmed over objection of one (or two) home state senators — including under Obama.'"

'The dogma lives loudly within you': The battle over Trump's effort to remake the courts in his image is starting to heat up (Business Insider, 09/09/17)
Allan Smith: While not entirely uncommon for senators to deny a blue slip — several of President Barack Obama's judicial nominees met the same fate — Franken's move was just the first of three refusals from Democratic senators this week. On Thursday, Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden of Oregon announced that they will block a judicial nominee for the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals who had been announced as Trump's pick just earlier that day. The duo said in a letter to the White House that they would not be providing blue slips for Ryan Bounds, an assistant US attorney in Oregon, because he had not been approved by a bipartisan judicial selection committee in their state.... While the denial of a blue slip does not legally restrict a judge from being approved, Glenn Sugameli, an attorney who is an expert on judicial nominations, told Business Insider in an email earlier this week that "no circuit court nominees have been confirmed over objection of one (or two) home state senators — including under Obama."