Fellow MoJoer Nick Baumann tweets that "too much of the coverage of Obama and judges has not mentioned Sen. Leahy and the blue-slip rule." That's true! One of the Senate's oldest traditions is that judicial nominees require approval from their home-state senators before they can move forward, and that approval comes in the form of a blue slip returned to the chairman of the Judiciary Committee. The recent history of the blue slip is surprisingly slippery, if you'll excuse the pun, but here's my best take at a handy potted history of the blue-slip rule:
As we noted last week, the nomination remains frozen in suspended animation because one man, Senator Richard Burr, refuses to return his “blue slip” — the modest little document that, under Senate tradition, both Senators from the home state must return in order for such a nominee to receive a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
1995-2000: Republicans take control of Senate and decide that two blue slips should be required. This makes it easier to kill Clinton nominees.
The blue slip process is used only by the Senate Judiciary Committee—no other Senate committee uses it for other kinds of nominations. The practice of using blue slips dates back to at least 1917.
Blue Slip Inspection is available for
- Passenger cars