- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee demanded Wednesday that Republicans follow a long-standing courtesy that allows senators to block judicial nominees from their states — and which could create an opening for Democrats to block some of President Trump’s judicial picks.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Democrats respected the “blue slip” courtesy during then-President Barack Obama’s tenure, even when it sank some of his appeals court nominees. She said the GOP should preserve the practice now for Mr. Trump’s picks.

Senators traditionally are given the courtesy of a say in nominees from their states. If they approve of the pick, they are to return their blue slip. An unreturned blue slip can sink a nomination.

Republicans have signaled they would respect the process when it came to district court nominees, but said they may not adhere as tightly for circuit court picks, which have become a major battleground as liberals and conservatives battle to install their judges on the bench.

Mr. Trump faced 20 circuit vacancies when he took office.

Democrats, left without the power to stop judges through a partisan filibuster, are counting on the blue slip process to give them some leverage.

Ms. Feinstein said Republicans used the blue slip policy to sink Mr. Obama’s nominee from Kentucky for the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Senate is voting this week on Mr. Trump’s pick for that same seat.

Senate Democrats did not abandon the blue slip during the Obama administration even though the Senate Judiciary Committee was controlled by Democrats for six of the eight years,” said a memo from Ms. Feinstein to reporters.

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