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Republicans Set to Destroy Another Senate Norm


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#1 LFC

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Posted 25 September 2017 - 11:07 AM

I'm not really a fan of the "blue slip" objections but once again Republicans are dripping with hypocrisy.

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With the White House’s initial batch of 11 nominations for lifetime appointments—with most of the names taken from lists compiled by the conservative Federalist Society and Heritage Foundation—before the U.S. Senate, Republicans there are warning that they may change the rules to push them through over Democratic objections.

At issue are “blue slips,” a 100-year-old Senate tradition where home-state senators signal their support or opposition to a judicial nominee by returning a blue slip of paper saying yea or nay (or, in recent years, simply not returning it at all, which also dooms the nomination). No Obama district or circuit court nominee in eight years even got a hearing before the Judiciary Committee unless both home-state senators returned blue slips saying “yea.”

Abiding by this rule under Obama led to record vacancies, along with the sense that Democrats are saps in the wielding of power. How much is the moral high ground worth? A lot, says Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, if you don’t want a direct path from the conservative Federalist Society onto the federal bench—and if you want to preserve senatorial control as opposed to ceding more power to the White House.

She called the elimination of the blue slip “essentially a move to end cooperation between the executive and legislative branch on judicial nominees, allowing nominees to be hand-picked by right-wing groups.”

The courtesy of blue slips encourages consultation between the White House and senators of the opposite party. Democrats cite an example from the Obama years where Utah Republican Orrin Hatch signaled support for a Democratic nominee over two Republican alternatives. Georgia’s two Republican senators left a seat vacant for almost a thousand days, returning their blue slips only when a second vacancy opened up and President Obama agreed to name a Republican to that seat.

Eliminating the blue slip, a longstanding senatorial prerogative, would shift power away from the Senate to the president, and do Republicans really want to do that with this particular president?

The reason there are currently 11 judicial vacancies in Texas is because Republican Sens. Cruz and Cornyn refused to sign off on any Obama nominee. The White House eventually gave up even offering names to fill them. In Pennsylvania, a vacancy has been open on the Third Circuit since July 2015 after the White House could not reach agreement with Republican Senator Pat Toomey on an acceptable candidate.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

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#2 cmk

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Posted 25 September 2017 - 12:12 PM

Gosh who could ever have predicted that when the Senate Democrats let the Republicans run roughshod over them because of "tradition" that would matter "when they were the minority" that the Republicans would toss anything and everything to get what they want once in power?
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#3 LFC

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Posted 25 September 2017 - 12:25 PM

View Postcmk, on 25 September 2017 - 12:12 PM, said:

Gosh who could ever have predicted that when the Senate Democrats let the Republicans run roughshod over them because of "tradition" that would matter "when they were the minority" that the Republicans would toss anything and everything to get what they want once in power?

Republicans are radicals, Democrats are reactive.
" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#4 cmk

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Posted 25 September 2017 - 06:30 PM

I felt like I was channeling Tom Tomorrow as I wrote that.
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"The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly, is to fill the world with fools." -- Herbert Spencer

"Atheism is a religion like abstinence is a sex position." -- Bill Maher


"Our new Government['s] foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and moral condition." -- Alexander Stephens, Vice-President of the Confederacy

#5 Beelzebuddy

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 09:03 AM

View Postcmk, on 25 September 2017 - 06:30 PM, said:

I felt like I was channeling Tom Tomorrow as I wrote that.
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#6 cmk

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 11:51 AM

There was one I think specifically about this topic and he had guys saying that every other panel. Of course I can't find it.
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"The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly, is to fill the world with fools." -- Herbert Spencer

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"Our new Government['s] foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and moral condition." -- Alexander Stephens, Vice-President of the Confederacy

#7 LFC

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Posted 11 October 2017 - 01:17 PM

McConnell closing in on those blue slip objections and Grassley (who I now have zero respect for) gets the final say. I hope when that the Dems learn from this and once they're back in the Senate majority they wield their power for all its worth. The Republicans set (or, more to the point, destroyed) the norms. They need to live with the consequences and when they predictably whine they need to be told in no uncertain terms to STFU and live with the system they themselves created.

Quote

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) pushed back on comments made by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) indicating that the top Senate Republican would like to eliminate the last tool Democrats have to block President Trump’s judicial nominees.

“The Senate has fewer and fewer mechanisms that create bipartisanship and bring people to an agreement. The blue slips are one of them,” Schumer said Wednesday in a statement, referring to the Senate tradition that a judicial nominee not move forward until both home state senators return the so-called “blue slip” approving their nomination.


“It’s just a shame that Senator McConnell is willing to abandon it for circuit court judges. We hope that [Judiciary] Chairman [Chuck] Grassley, who has always believed in the traditions of the Senate, will resist Senator McConnell’s request,” Schumer’s statement continued.

In an interview with the Weekly Standard published earlier Wednesday, McConnell said that Republicans going forward will treat blue slips “as simply notification of how you’re going to vote, not as an opportunity to blackball.”

Ironically, more than a few of the judiciary vacancies Trump can now fill exist because Republicans under President Obama refused to return blue slips for his nominees — even for nominees they had previously supported.

Technically, it’s up to the leader of the Judiciary Committee — currently Sen. Grassley (R-IA) — to decide whether to honor the blue slip tradition or not. McConnell’s spokesman told TPM in an email that his Weekly Standard comments reflected his “well-known public position on the matter” and that “we have not made any announcements about a Conference or committee position.”

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#8 AnBr

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Posted 11 October 2017 - 08:45 PM

View PostLFC, on 11 October 2017 - 01:17 PM, said:

McConnell closing in on those blue slip objections and Grassley (who I now have zero respect for) gets the final say. I hope when that the Dems learn from this and once they're back in the Senate majority they wield their power for all its worth. The Republicans set (or, more to the point, destroyed) the norms. They need to live with the consequences and when they predictably whine they need to be told in no uncertain terms to STFU and live with the system they themselves created.

Of course that is why that Reid was so slow to use the nuclear option. He didn't want to set a precedent that could come back to haunt the Dems.
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#9 Traveler

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 06:40 AM

Which is why the POG is still reluctant to forego the filibuster. Unless ALEC's amendments win, demographics don't look good for them.
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#10 LFC

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Posted 22 March 2018 - 01:04 PM

There's a push from the Trump camp and being picked up by at least some Republicans to circumvent the minority party completely when it comes to judicial nominees so they can fast track people into the positions that McConnell held open under Obama.

Quote

There’s an effort quietly picking up steam in the marble halls of the Capitol to flip the Founders’ vision of government on its head. While it’s not as sexy as all of President Donald Trump’s alleged affairs, the subtle changes under consideration could potentially have a bigger impact on your life than the first lo-fi porn you watched.

Vice President Mike Pence came to the Capitol last week to personally relay to Senate Republicans the president’s growing frustration with the slow pace of the Senate’s confirmation process. On Tuesday the White House got some in-house help from Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) who laid out his proposal during a closed-door meeting of Republican senators.

The blueprint that’s picking up steam within the GOP is to drastically expedite executive branch nominees, including on many young, extremely ideological judges who will be appointed for life and have a say on everything from your right to obtain contraceptives to where you can buy a wedding cake. Experts say these recent hot button court cases are just the beginning of a coming wave of politically tinged cases that will be winding through the nation’s judiciary after Trump and the GOP leave their imprint on the nation’s third branch of government.

The serious reemergence of the “nuclear option”—which means the majority party in the Senate can completely bypass the minority—has Democrats and some senior Republicans nervous their party will follow former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s footsteps who was the last leader to blow up the Senate’s long-standing norms.

When Mitch McConnell was then minority leader, he slow-walked, stalled and outright blocked an array of former President Barack Obama’s nominees, so Reid flipped the switch and detonated the nuclear option in the Senate. That enabled most every executive branch nominee to be confirmed by a mere 51 votes. The nuclear fallout from that move still hangs over the Senate, and it seems the GOP is inching closer to launching their own nuke.

It looks like the author has forgotten about the blocked SCOTUS nomination under Obama and the nuclear option dropped on confirming Gorsuch. If anyone was following in anyone else's footsteps it was Reid simply reacting to McConnell's destruction of Senate norms. (Actually to be fair the Republicans started wholesale judicial blocking when Clinton was in office. McConnell is just the latest tool to be used against democracy.)
" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#11 LFC

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Posted 01 April 2019 - 11:46 AM

McConnell proposed cutting debate over judicial nominees from 30 hours to 2 hours. (F***, I've had job interviews that lasted way longer than two hours and I wasn't trying out for a lifetime position.) Why? Because according to him Democrats are engaging in historic levels of obstruction. Yes, the man has no shame and yes I truly hope there's a special level of hell being set up just for him. He is as or worse of a destructive force in America than Gingrich.

Quote

Sen. Majority Mitch McConnell (R-KY) wrote an op-ed in Politico Monday decrying Democrats’ “historic obstruction,” an accusation that won’t sit well with liberals still furious about McConnell’s refusal to allow a vote on former President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland.

“Since January 2017, for the first time in memory, a minority has exploited procedure to systematically obstruct a President from staffing up his administration,” McConnell wrote. “This new, across-the-board obstruction is unfair to the President and, more importantly, to the American people.”

He continued that he is introducing a proposal to make it easier for Republicans to get President Donald Trump’s nominees approved by circumventing Democratic opposition.

“Our proposal would only reduce the time a minority can keep delaying lower-tier nominations after a majority has invoked cloture,” he wrote. “This would keep the Senate floor moving, saving time that is currently tied up in inoffensive nominations that senators don’t even really debate. And, at last, it would let President Trump fill important vacancies at a more reasonable pace.”

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer





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