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Senators Markey, Warren Re-Convene Bipartisan Advisory Committee on Massachusetts Judicial Nominations: Governor Baker and Mass. Bar Association Praise Addition of Newest Committee Member, Who Previously Oversaw Judicial Selection as Aide to Governor Romney
(Democrat - Massachusetts) 07/18/17
"I thank the dedicated men and women on this Advisory Committee, including newest member Elissa Flynn-Poppey, who are willing to commit their time and expertise for the benefit of Massachusetts," said Senator Markey. "Their participation is a critical part of the nomination process and will help ensure judicial vacancies are filled efficiently and by qualified individuals who hold the esteem and respect of peers, colleagues and their communities." "I'm glad to join Senator Markey in reconvening the Advisory Committee on Massachusetts Judicial Nominations, and I am very pleased to welcome Elissa Flynn-Poppey to the committee. Elissa brings valuable expertise to this bipartisan process," Senator Warren said. "The bipartisan Advisory Committee plays an important role ensuring that federal courts in Massachusetts are comprised of highly qualified and fair-minded judges. I look forward to receiving the committee's recommendations."

Sen. Feinstein Sets the Record Straight on Blue Slip, Speaks Against Right-Wing Nominees
(Democrat - California) 07/13/17
"I intend to support Mr. Newsom for the Eleventh Circuit, but I need to make a point about blue slips first. In February 2016, President Obama nominated U.S. District Court Judge Abdul Kallon for this very same vacancy on the Eleventh Circuit. A few years earlier, Judge Kallon had been unanimously confirmed with the support of Senators Shelby and Sessions when he was nominated to the federal district court bench. However, Judge Kallon did not receive a hearing in this committee last year because Senators Shelby and Sessions did not support his elevation to the circuit court and thus did not return their blue slips. That’s the prerogative of home state senators for judicial nominees from their states—including circuit court judges and it has existed for 100 years.... President Obama’s nominee Judge Kallon and three other circuit nominees waited nine, 10, up to 11 months for blue slips that never came .... I am not able to support Mr. Bush’s nomination to the Sixth Circuit or Mr. Schiff’s nomination to the Court of Federal Claims.... they expressed strident, provocative and in some cases deeply offensive opinions on a wide range of political and legal issues. If I were a litigant before them, I would not have the confidence that these individuals had the temperament or impartiality to serve as a federal judge.... Bush wrote blog posts where he relied on extreme right-wing sources like World Net Daily .... Schiff referred to Justice Kennedy as a ‘judicial prostitute,’ and accused Justice Kennedy of ‘selling his vote as it were to four other justices in exchange for the high that comes from aggrandizement of power and influence.’ Shocking. Mr. Schiff also criticized a California school district’s proposed anti-bullying initiative for teaching that ‘homosexual families are the moral equivalent of traditional heterosexual families.’ Lastly, Mr. Schiff has repeatedly made clear his hostility to environmental laws that protect our clean air and clean water."

SENS. ISAKSON, PERDUE STATEMENTS ON THREE GEORGIA FEDERAL JUDGE NOMINEES: Self nominated to Middle district, Ray and Brown nominated to Northern district
(Republican - Georgia) 07/13/17
“The president has nominated three outstanding Georgians, and I look forward to working with them as they go through the confirmation process in the Senate,” said Isakson. “President Trump nominated an impressive and qualified group of individuals to fill the vacant federal judgeships in the Middle and Northern Districts of Georgia,” said Perdue. “I look forward to meeting with Mike Brown, William Ray and Tripp Self as they go through the Senate confirmation process.”

Sens. Burr and Tillis Welcome Nomination of Thomas Farr as District Judge for Eastern North Carolina
(Republican - North Carolina) 07/13/17
Today, at the recommendation of North Carolina Senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis, President Trump announced his intention to nominate Thomas Farr to fill the United States District Court vacancy for the Eastern District of North Carolina. “I am pleased once again to support Thomas Farr for District Judge of the Eastern District of North Carolina,” said Senator Burr. “Mr. Farr was previously nominated for this judgeship in 2006. His wealth of experience will serve North Carolina well.” “Thomas Farr is widely respected as one of the best legal minds in North Carolina,” said Senator Tillis. “He is impeccably qualified and I am confident he will be an independent-minded judge committed to fairness and will faithfully apply the law.”

Sens. Merkely & Wyden spokespersons on judicial nominations and selection
(Democrat - Oregon) 07/12/17
But a spokeswoman for Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Portland, said the delay is not on his end, adding that the White House has barely started to engage in the customary consultation with the state's senators over such picks. "Sen. Merkley plans to use the same process for judicial nominations that has served the state well for years: having a panel of respected attorneys interview candidates, review their records, and make recommendations," the spokeswoman, Sara Hottman, said in an email on Tuesday. "Sen. Merkley has communicated that to the White House and to the Judiciary Committee, and has been clear he cannot commit to signing off on any nominees who don't go through that process. "Sen. Merkley has a call with the White House counsel today," she added. "The call is the first time in six months the administration has reached out on the subject of U.S. Attorney nominations, so it is not accurate to blame 'Democratic foot-dragging' on the delay in finding replacements." A spokesman for Sen. Ron Wyden, Oregon's ranking Democrat, echoed that message. "Sen. Wyden is working with Sen. Merkley and Congressman Walden on developing a process that provides the fairest and best opportunity to forward good candidates for these posts."

Sen. Feinstein: Protect Senate ‘Advise-and-Consent’ Role on Judicial Nominees
(Democrat - California) 07/12/17
Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today called on the Senate to protect the role of senators in the nominations process. Over the past two weeks, there have been a number of baseless attacks against the blue slip and Democratic senators .... "The blue slip has been used since 1917 and history is being misrepresented in a brazen attempt to destroy the Senate’s prerogative to ‘advise-and-consent’ on judicial nominees. “The blue slip is the one opportunity that home-state senators have to weigh in on judges that will serve their constituents and it has always been taken seriously. It was always honored during the Obama administration—even when Republicans did not return blue slips for up to two and a half years. “The bottom line is that no circuit court nominee has been confirmed without two blue slips from home-state senators since at least 1981. As far as this senator is concerned, no senator should be chastised for thoroughly vetting nominees using a tool that’s been around for 100 years. “It’s telling that just six months into the Trump administration there is this proactive effort to effectively eliminate the role of senators in the nominations process. No Democratic senator has said that he or she will reject all Trump judicial nominees. Rather, they will review nominees on a case-by-case basis. This effort isn’t a response to obstruction—there’s been no obstruction. This is about giving conservative outside groups the ability to hand pick judges. “Rather than nominate candidates to fill vacancies in states with two Republican senators, the White House has prioritized vacancies in states with Democratic senators. There are three vacancies on the Fifth Circuit, including two in Texas that have been open for more than three years. If the White House was so concerned about vacancies it would have focused on these seats.”

Sens. Rubio, Nelson Announce Judicial Nominating Commission Members
(Democrat, Republican - Florida) 07/12/17
Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) today announced the full membership of the Florida Federal Judicial Nominating Commission (JNC) for the 115th Congress. The commission is chaired by Carlos López-Cantera and charged with identifying and recommending to the senators highly qualified individuals for consideration to become U.S. district judges in each of the three judicial districts in Florida. “We appreciate the willingness of these men and women to volunteer their time and expertise for the benefit of Florida,” said the senators. “Their input and recommendations are a critical part of the process and will help ensure judicial vacancies are filled in a timely manner by qualified individuals who are well regarded by their peers and communities.”

Sen. McConnell: Senate Democrats Causing Historically Slow Nomination Process
(Republican - Kentucky) 07/12/17
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made the following remarks on the Senate floor today

ID Senators: Senate Unanimously Confirms Judge David Nye of Pocatello to be US District Judge for Idaho: Crapo, Risch Lead Judge Nye’s Nomination to Completion
(Republican - Idaho) 07/12/17
“I thank my colleagues for expediting Judge Nye’s consideration and confirmation,” said Crapo, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “Judge Nye is a supremely qualified candidate for a U.S. district judge seat, having both a unanimous “well qualified” rating from the ABA and receiving approval from the Judiciary Committee without dissent twice in under 12 months. Judge Nye is a well-respected jurist in Idaho and is heavily-involved in the training and orientation of new judges. I congratulate Judge Nye on his confirmation and am confident he will continue to serve the people of Idaho and its legal community well into the future.” “I am pleased that the U.S. Senate has approved Judge Nye as U.S. District Judge in Idaho,” said Senator Risch. “Judge Nye is a qualified and experienced jurist who has great respect for the rule of law, and who has rejected judicial activism in his service as a state judge. His confirmation is a true win for Idahoans. In the midst of Idaho’s judicial emergency, I also want to thank President Trump and Leader McConnell for making Judge Nye’s confirmation a priority for the Senate. I look forward to his forthcoming many years of service as a U.S. District Judge.” Judge Nye was nominated by President Donald Trump to fill the open U.S. District Court judgeship in Idaho. He was previously nominated to the same position by President Obama in 2016 and approved unanimously by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The 114th Congress concluded without completing the confirmation process. The Trump administration, in consultation with both Crapo and Risch, re-nominated Judge Nye on May 8, and his nomination was confirmed unanimously by the Senate Judiciary Committee on June 15.

Sen. Schumer Floor Statement: NOMINATIONS
(Democrat - New York) 07/10/17
"I understand the White House is complaining about the pace of nominations, citing the obstruction of Senate Democrats. If the White House is looking for a cause of the delay, they only need to look in the mirror. No administration in recent memory has been slower in sending nominees to the Senate. In the last few weeks, the administration has sent several nominees without all of their paperwork or their ethics agreements complete. We can't go forward until that happens. The White House has sent nominees for the Cabinet on down without the paperwork or ethics agreements completed. That is almost unprecedented in its degree. Time and again, they have stalled on providing committees with the information they need to proceed on nominations."

Sens. Stabenow, Peters Accepting Applications from Candidates Interested in Nomination for Federal Judgeship and U.S. Attorney in Eastern and Western Districts of Michigan
(Democrat - Michigan) 07/07/17
Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters today announced they are accepting applications from qualified persons interested in nomination for federal judge or United States Attorney. There is currently one vacancy on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan and one vacancy on the United States District Court for the Western District.... “As Senators representing the State of Michigan, it is our constitutional responsibility to evaluate a nominee’s qualifications, experience and judicial philosophy to ensure their nomination is in the best interest of the people of Michigan,” said Senator Stabenow. “I am confident that there are many qualified people in our state that are ready to serve as federal judge or U.S Attorney. I encourage those interested in serving to apply for these important positions.” “There is a long standing tradition of Senators evaluating and recommending highly qualified home state candidates for federal judgeship and U.S. Attorney roles,” said Senator Peters. “Federal judges and U.S. Attorneys make decisions that directly impact the people of Michigan as they work to administer justice fairly and compassionately, and I encourage qualified applicants who are interested in public service to apply.” It is the Senate’s tradition for both home state Senators to recommend judicial nominees to the President for consideration. After someone is nominated, it is Senate procedure for the home state senators to agree to consideration of a nominee before the Senate Judiciary Committee conducts hearings and votes. This is commonly called the “blue slip” process. Nominations approved by the Committee are then considered by the full Senate. President Trump has already nominated Justice Joan Larsen to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. Both Senators received her completed application and background materials last week, which includes hundreds of pages of documents. They are in the process of thoroughly reviewing her record. Senators Stabenow and Peters will continue to listen to public input and consult with Michigan’s legal community to ensure that our state is served by highly qualified, fair and impartial judges that put the people of Michigan first.

Sens. Grassley, Ernst Invite Iowans to be Considered for Judgeship in Northern District of Iowa
(Republican - Iowa) 07/07/17
"Sen. Chuck Grassley and Sen. Joni Ernst today invited Iowa lawyers who would like to be recommended for a judicial appointment by President Donald Trump to serve as a U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Iowa to submit applications by August 11. The senators intend to make recommendations to fill the federal judgeship that will be left vacant when Judge Linda R. Reade, of Cedar Rapids, takes senior status. Reade was recommended in 2002 by Grassley to President George W. Bush .... Federal judges are nominated by the President, confirmed “with the advice and consent” of the U.S. Senate, and serve lifetime appointments.

Sen. Franken spokesman on Stras judicial nomination
(Democrat - Minnesota) 07/04/17
Neither Sens. Amy Klobuchar nor Al Franken have returned their blue slips signaling acceptance of Justice Stras. Both senators are currently reviewing his record. “That takes time — especially since he was not meaningfully consulted by the White House in advance of the nomination,” said Michael Dale-Stein, a spokesman for Mr. Franken.

Michigan Senators on Larsen judicial nomination
(Democrat - Michigan) 07/04/17
The Senate Judiciary Committee has not taken up the nomination of Michigan Supreme Court Justice Joan Larsen …. The panel is waiting for the go-ahead from her home state senators, Democrats Debbie Stabenow of Lansing and Gary Peters of Bloomfield Township. They are still reviewing Larsen’s nomination, including a Michigan-specific questionnaire that she returned to the senators’ offices last week…. Stabenow said she and Peters are seeking additional input on Larsen’s nomination, including asking bar associations in Michigan for feedback. “We’ve said nothing at all that would politicize this process,” Stabenow said in an interview. “The wisest thing for her supporters would be to give us constructive input. We’re in the process of doing our due diligence. It’s a very, very important position, and it’s our responsibility to the people of Michigan to get all the information.”… The White House traditionally consults with senators before selecting judicial nominees, but Trump’s White House notified the senators’ offices without seeking input on Larsen.

Sen. Peters on Joan Larsen judicial nomination
(Democrat - Michigan) 07/02/17
A spokesperson for [Sen. Gary] Peters' office said the senator just received all of the requested paperwork from Larsen this week and will be reviewing that material before making a final blue slip decision.

Norton Thanks Durbin For Defending D.C.’s Right to a Role in Nomination of Federal Officials at Confirmation Hearing Today
(Democrat - District of Columbia) 06/28/17
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) thanked Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) for getting two Trump administration nominees for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to commit at their confirmation hearing today to meet with Norton before the Senate Judiciary Committee holds a vote on their nominations. Durbin noted that the Trump administration, unlike the last three administrations, has not provided Norton any role in the nomination process for federal district court judges and other law enforcement officials in the District. Norton had requested that Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats question the nominees on their knowledge of D.C. and whether they intend to reside in D.C. during their terms. “We are grateful to Senator Durbin, who has always been one of the strongest defenders in Congress of D.C. equality,” Norton said. “It is beyond unacceptable that D.C. residents have been excluded from the nomination process for federal officials who serve them. I look forward to the nominees abiding by their commitment to Senator Durbin and meeting with me, as under prior administrations.”

Sen. Leahy: Grassley said he would follow same blue slip procedures-- over 30 years "He’s never broken his word to me.”
(Democrat - Vermont) 06/22/17
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), stuck by the practice for years when he was chairman ― even when Republicans routinely abused it to block Obama’s nominees.... “Sen. Grassley made it very clear that he appreciated what I did when there was a Republican president and Democratic president, applying the blue slips,” Leahy told HuffPost. “He told me he was going to follow the same procedures as chairman. And I take him at his word,” he added. “I’ve known him for over 30 years. He’s never broken his word to me.”

SENS. CRAPO, RISCH PRAISE SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE APPROVAL OF JUDGE DAVID NYE: NOMINATION REPORTED TO THE FULL SENATE FOR CONSIDERATION
(Republican - Idaho) 06/15/17
"I thank Chairman Grassley and Ranking Member Feinstein for prompt action on Judge Nye’s nomination. I welcomed the opportunity to reintroduce Judge Nye to my colleagues and appreciate the unanimous approval by the Committee,” said Crapo, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “The panel’s endorsement of Judge Nye last year and today demonstrates his strong credentials and outstanding service to the legal community. I will be working closely with my Senate colleagues to advance Judge Nye through the full Senate and hope he can be confirmed quickly.” "I am grateful to my colleagues on the Judiciary Committee, including Mike Crapo, for making Judge Nye’s approval a priority on their panel. Judge Nye is a sound and principled jurist who has my full confidence. I look forward to seeing his nomination come before the full Senate, where I will strongly advocate for his confirmation." Judge Nye has been nominated by President Donald Trump to fill the open U.S. District Court judgeship in Idaho. He was previously nominated to the same position by President Obama in 2016 and was approved unanimously by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The 114th Congress concluded without completing the confirmation process. The Trump administration, in consultation with both Crapo and Risch, re-nominated Judge Nye

Sen. Feinstein Speaks on Importance of Senators on Judicial Nominations
(Democrat - California) 06/14/17
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today spoke at a Senate Judiciary Committee nominations hearing about the importance of preserving the so-called blue slip process that requires both home-state senators to approve a nominee from their state before that nominee can move forward in the Judiciary Committee. The nomination of Kevin Newsom to the Eleventh Circuit was only possible because senators did not sign off on President Obama’s nominee to fill that vacancy having a hearing in the Judiciary Committee, but Republicans are now signaling that this long-standing precedent is in jeopardy.... "I would just like to say a quick word, if I may, about blue slips and the Eleventh Court vacancy. Last year, President Obama nominated U.S. District Court Judge Abdul Kallon for this very same vacancy on the Eleventh Circuit. Judge Kallon had been unanimously confirmed with the support of Senators Shelby and Sessions when he was nominated to the federal court bench in 2009. And I’m certain that Judge Kallon would have been an excellent Eleventh Circuit judge. However, Judge Kallon did not receive a hearing in this committee last year because Senators Shelby and Sessions did not support his elevation to the circuit court, and thus did not return their blue slips. That is the prerogative of home-state senators for judicial nominees from their states—including circuit court judges. Now, Mr. Newsom is before us today because Senators Shelby and Strange returned blue slips, and I do not hold Mr. Newsom accountable for the senators’ decision not to return blue slips on Judge Kallon’s nomination. But I’ve seen in the media some comments from friends across the aisle suggesting that blue slips have historically been less important for circuit court nominees than district court nominees. And respectfully, that’s just not the case. The fact that Mr. Newsom is sitting here before us today proves that fact."

Feinstein defends blue-slip tactic to block judges
(Democrat - California) 06/14/17
The top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee is warning Republicans against cutting back on the rights of home-state senators to block judicial nominees through a process known as the blue slip. At a confirmation hearing Wednesday on three of President Donald Trump's judicial picks, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California said she wanted to counter Republicans' claims that the blue-slip procedure has not been religiously applied to nominations for circuit court seats. Feinstein noted that one of the nominees appearing before the panel Wednesday, Kevin Newsom, has been selected for a seat that President Barack Obama tried to fill last year. Obama's pick, U.S. District Court Judge Abdul Kallon, never got a hearing because Sen. Richard Shelby and then-Sen. Jeff Sessions declined to return the so-called blue slips for the Alabama resident. So, the seat remained vacant. "I’ve seen in the media some comments from friends across the aisle suggesting that blue slips have historically been less important for circuit court nominees than district court nominees. And respectfully that’s just not the case. The fact that Mr. Newsom is sitting before us today proves that fact," Feinstein said.... Feinstein signaled Wednesday that it would be a mistake for Republicans to abandon the system requiring buy-in from local senators. "That is the prerogative of home state senators for judicial nominees from their states, including circuit court judges," she said.

Norton Urges Senate Democrats to Question D.C. Federal Nominees on Residency, Familiarity with D.C., After White House Nominates Non-D.C. Residents for the U.S. District Court and U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia
(Democrat - District of Columbia) 06/13/17
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today called on Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee to question nominees for federal positions in the District of Columbia, including federal district court judge, U.S. Attorney and U.S. Marshal, on whether they intend to reside in D.C. during their terms. The White House last week formally nominated its first three individuals for the federal district court here, including Dabney Langhorne Friedrich of California and Trevor N. McFadden of Virginia. Yesterday, the White House announced its intent to nominate Jessie Liu, who is a Virginia resident, to serve as U.S. Attorney here. “It is critical that federal district court judges, U.S. Attorneys and U.S. Marshals understand the people and issues of the jurisdictions they serve, and living in the jurisdictions where their decisions apply keeps them in touch with many relevant issues 24/7,” Norton said. “We are offended that there is a unique patronage exemption in federal law for the District of Columbia. The principle of local residency of federal officials serving their district in the states and territories is otherwise nearly universally recognized."... In March, Norton wrote to President Trump requesting that he extend her the courtesy of consulting on the appointment of these officials—the same courtesy extended to her by President George W. Bush. The Trump White House has not consulted Norton on nominations. Presidents Clinton and Obama extended Norton the courtesy to recommend these officials in the same manner as Democratic senators, and all of Norton’s recommendations were D.C. residents or committed to residing in the District during their terms.

Sen. Crapo on Judge Nye vote pending in panel
(Republican - Idaho) 06/11/17
Idaho Judge David Nye’s nomination to be the state’s next federal district judge is on the agenda for the Senate Judiciary Committee this week, and it appears a committee vote is likely. Nye already won unanimous approval from the committee after a hearing in June of 2016, but the nomination never came up for a vote in the full Senate. Last month, at the urging of Idaho Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch, President Trump re-nominated Nye. Idaho has been down to just one active federal district judge since longtime Judge Edward Lodge took senior status on July 3, 2015. The federal court system has declared a judicial emergency in Idaho due to the shortage of judges, and visiting judges have been brought in from other states to hear cases. Lindsay Nothern, Crapo’s press secretary, said he expects a voice vote in the committee to approve Nye. “He’s been through the process before. We do expect his nomination to move forward,” Nothern said. Crapo and Risch negotiated with the Obama Administration for a year and a half before settling on Nye as a nominee acceptable to both President Obama, a Democrat, and the two Idaho senators, both Republicans. The long process included considering and rejecting dozens of other possible nominees.

Judiciary committee's Mazie Hirono stresses importance of blue-slip process in fighting Trump nominations
(Democrat - Hawaii) 06/09/17
Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono insisted Friday that the Senate "respect" the "blue-slip" process regarding judicial nominations and hinted at its utility as a tool to fight the Trump administration. Under the Senate's blue slip procedure, a state's senators are consulted by the White House before a president nominates a judge from that state, with no attention given to party affiliation, explains a Congressional Research Service report detailing the blue slip policy. The home-state senators then have the opportunity to block a nominee from receiving a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing and vote. "Until I got to the nomination of Judge Gorsuch and so much preparation time, I really wasn't familiar with the blue-slip process," said Hirono, a Democratic member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, at the American Constitution Society's national convention. "But it's time-honored. Blue slips enable home-state senators to ensure that the federal judges serving in their states are highly qualified." Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono insisted Friday that the Senate "respect" the "blue-slip" process regarding judicial nominations and hinted at its utility as a tool to fight the Trump administration. Under the Senate's blue slip procedure, a state's senators are consulted by the White House before a president nominates a judge from that state, with no attention given to party affiliation, explains a Congressional Research Service report detailing the blue slip policy. The home-state senators then have the opportunity to block a nominee from receiving a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing and vote. "Until I got to the nomination of Judge Gorsuch and so much preparation time, I really wasn't familiar with the blue-slip process," said Hirono, a Democratic member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, at the American Constitution Society's national convention. "But it's time-honored. Blue slips enable home-state senators to ensure that the federal judges serving in their states are highly qualified."

Sens. Carper and Coons Move on Federal Court Vacancies
(Democrat - Delaware) 06/09/17
As Delaware's Democratic senators move ahead with a bipartisan committee to vet potential candidates for two openings on the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, the White House has not initiated a formal process for reviewing applicants, sources said this week. A spokeswoman for Sen. Tom Carper confirmed Wednesday that the state's senior senator had sent letters to a roster of attorneys who had expressed interest in filling the seats being vacated by District Court Judges Sue L. Robinson and Gregory M. Sleet, asking the applicants to confirm their interest in the positions.... The spokeswoman, Katie Wilson, described the correspondence as a "joint effort" by Carper and Sen. Chris Coons—who sits on the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee—to elicit more information before bringing applicants in for interviews with the committee, which is modeled off of Delaware's system for vetting judicial nominees at the state-court level. According to sources, potential candidates were also asked to fill out a formal questionnaire that the Judiciary Committee uses to review applicants for federal judgeships. A timeline for the review process was not immediately clear, but Wilson said the senators hope to "move expeditiously."

Sen. McConnell on Judicial Nominations
(Republican - Kentucky) 06/09/17
“The courts — of all the things that we should be able to accomplish with this president and this Senate — the courts have the longest reach into the future,” McConnell said. “We have a significant number of vacancies coming into this administration. The president knows this is a way to have an impact on our country far beyond his tenure in office.” McConnell recognized the nomination process would be a “tough battle” amid what he called “blind obstruction” by the minority party. “The left is on war-footing for just about everything these days and that includes the lower courts,” he said. “They are doing everything they can to tie the Senate in knots. They are forcing procedural hurdles on just about everything.” Trump on Wednesday sent up a slate of federal court nominations and McConnell said they would give each one a “fair hearing and vote.” ... He recalled a conversation he had with Gorsuch following his confirmation, during which the new Supreme Court associate justice said he hoped to serve for 20 to 25 years. “What we had in mind was a lot longer tenure than 20 or 25 years,” McConnell told Gorsuch and said to “think Strom Thurmond” who left the Senate at the age of 100. Thurmond was in fragile health the last several years of his tenure.

Sen. Bennet on Eid 10th Circuit nomination
(Democrat - Colorado) 06/07/17
In a statement released Wednesday, Bennet said he was displeased Trump had not reached out prior to the nomination. “It’s unfortunate that this White House failed to follow the traditional practice of working with the home state senators to fill this seat with the input of the Colorado legal community,” Bennet said in a statement. “Nonetheless, Justice Eid deserves full consideration by the United States Senate. I look forward to reviewing her record and writings in the weeks ahead.” Asked whether Bennet would try to block Eid, Bennet spokeswoman Samantha Slater said, “It’s premature to comment on that, and we’re going to wait until all the materials are submitted.”

Grassley Refuses To Support His Own Past Statement On Blue Slips
(Republican - Iowa) 06/06/17
Progress Iowa YouTube video: At a town hall meeting in Guthrie Center, Senator Grassley refused to agree with his past statement about the need to continue the blue-slip process allowing home state senators to approve judicial nominees -- even when presented with a column he wrote in 2015 publicly supporting the blue-slip process. If the Judiciary Committee (where Grassley serves as Chair) ends the use of the blue-slip, the President will have significantly less oversight on his judicial appointments.

Senator Mike Lee On “Blue Slips”
(Republican - Utah) 06/06/17
"There is nothing in the Senate rules, nothing certainly in the Constitution that requires it. There is some history and tradition behind it. My understanding is that the historical treatment that it’s received has been somewhat different with Circuit Courts than with district courts. So that’s one question we’ve got to look at. The other question that has to be examined is the extent to which it is being, or will be abused during this administration by people across the other side of the aisle. One of the more compelling arguments that I’ve heard by those who are opposed to the blue slips at this point is to say in the post-nuclear Senate, meaning after the Democrats went nuclear in November, 2013, it is no longer the case that 41 Senators can hold up a nominee. If 41 Senators can’t hold up a nominee, why would you allow one to not? That is a question that is being looked at closely within the Committee.... this is ultimately a matter that contemplates a judgment call on the part of the committee chairman. And I’ve got full confidence in Chairman Grassley to look carefully at this and to decide whether or when to do a hearing on it specifically, and what decisions, if any, need to be made."