AFJ Applauds Principled Stand by Franken

Press Release

Minnesota


Washington, D.C., September 5, 2017  – In response to an announcement today by Senator Al Franken that he will not return the so-called “blue slip” signaling support for the nomination of Minnesota’s David Stras for the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, and Senator Amy Klobuchar’s statement that Stras’s nomination should not go forward, AFJ President Nan Aron released the following statement:

“Senator Franken today took a principled stand against the nomination for the federal bench of an individual whose record raises serious questions about his commitment to upholding the rights of all Americans. In deciding not to return his blue slip on David Stras, Senator Franken used the slip the way it was intended to be used: to signal that he has seriously considered the nominee’s record and come to the conclusion that Stras doesn’t meet the standards required.  Senator Klobuchar has affirmed that in light of Franken’s decision, the nomination must not proceed. Based on Chairman Grassley’s past statements about his intention to honor the home-state senators’ blue slip tradition, we trust that he therefore will not proceed with the nomination of Stras, but will do what the circumstances require and call for bipartisan consultation with the home-state senators with the goal of identifying another nominee.”

During the Obama Administration, there was not a single exception to the rule that a judicial nomination would not proceed to a hearing without blue slips from both of the nominees’ home-state senators. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley in 2015 published an op-ed in The Des Moines Register, in which he said of blue slips: “This tradition is designed to encourage outstanding nominees and consensus between the White House and home-state senators. Over the years, Judiciary Committee chairs of both parties have upheld a blue-slip process, including Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, my immediate predecessor in chairing the committee, who steadfastly honored the tradition even as some in his own party called for its demise. I appreciate the value of the blue-slip process and also intend to honor it.”