Kirsters Baish| This week, the Senate is considering two new conservative nominees picked by President Donald Trump to “sit on the left-leaning 9th Circuit Court of Appeals — and the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee isn’t happy about it,” according to Fox News.
Fox explains that the conservative nominees, Ken Lee and Dan Collins, were selected by the Trump administration without asking for input from neither Democratic California Senator Dianne Feinstein nor Democratic California Senator Kamala Harris.
Traditionally, the White House seeks to obtain a so-called “blue slip,” or approval, from a judicial nominee’s two home-state senators before pressing on with their nominations.
But the Trump administration, which has successfully nominated several conservative judges to the 9th Circuit already, has pointedly disregarded that process as it continues its push to transform the appellate court that the president repeatedly has derided as hopelessly biased and “disgraceful.”
“I take it that without notice or discussion, the blue slip is essentially dead,” Senator Feinstein, ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, explained during televised comments this past Thursday. She continued, “This change in practice not only harms the Senate, it harms the federal judiciary. And I wish we could’ve had an opportunity to discuss it. I really believe it’s a mistake.”
Senator Feinstein, who was under fire during the confirmation process of Justice Brett Kavanaugh for the way she handled the situation, continued, “Before President Trump took office, the blue slip had been a Senate practice for nearly one century. And during the past 100 years, before this presidency, the Senate confirmed only five judges with only one blue slip, and the last one was in 1989 – and in 100 years the Senate had never confirmed a judge without two blue slips.”
Take a look:
Feinstein claimed that “since President Trump took office, Republicans have held hearings for 12 circuit court nominees and voted to confirm seven – seven – over the objection of home-state Democrats.”
Fox reports that “Miller was confirmed to the 9th Circuit in February by a vote of 53-46. Progressives fiercely attacked Miller as a corporate lawyer and Federalist Society member whose career supposedly had been hostile to Native American rights.”
Feinstein stated, “There is no justification for disregarding Democratic blue slips. Democratic senators have made and continue to make good faith efforts to find consensus picks for the circuit courts.
She continued, “As Senator Harris and I have made clear, we’ve been willing to work from the start with this president to choose consensus, mainstream nominees to the 9th Circuit. One of the things I’ve learned is: what goes around, comes around. I had hoped that we would be able to work in a very cooperative way.”
In January, Feinstein and Harris lashed out at the White House with a similar statement: “We are deeply disappointed that the White House has chosen to re-nominate Daniel Collins and Kenneth Lee to the 9th Circuit. We made clear our opposition to these individuals and told the White House we wanted to work together to come to consensus on a new package of nominees.”
With a sprawling purview representing nine Western states, the 9th Circuit has long been a thorn in the side of the Trump White House, with rulings against his travel ban policy and limits on funding to “sanctuary cities.”
It was only mere weeks ago that the 9th Circuit “broke ranks with another federal appellate court,” ruling that a Sri Lankan man who did not pass his initial asylum screening was able to go before a judge based on his constitutional right.
“However, the court’s left-wing reputation might be changing, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senate Republicans have continued to use the GOP majority to confirm judge after judge appointed by the president,” Fox reports.