AFJ Condemns Discriminatory Use of Blue Slip to Block Biden Judicial Nominee

Press Release

Mississippi


WASHINGTON, D.C., April 7, 2023 – Alliance for Justice condemns Mississippi Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith’s announcement Tuesday that she plans to withhold a “blue slip” to block Scott Colom, President Biden’s nominee to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi. Colom has the support of Sen. Roger Wicker, Hyde-Smith’s fellow Republican senator from Mississippi. 

AFJ has forewarned that the blue slip is a tool of obstruction, used predominantly by Republican senators to block nominees by Democratic presidents. During the last two years of President Obama’s presidency, blue slips helped Republican senators block judicial nominations, allowing only 20 confirmations while leaving 106 vacancies that President Trump then could fill. While Senate Democrats returned over 130 blue slips for nominees during the Trump administration, Senate Republicans have only returned 13 during the Biden administration. 

In expressing her opposition to Colom, Hyde-Smith indicated a clearly discriminatory intent for withholding her blue slip. By accusing Colom of having taking funding from George Soros, she used a common antisemitic dog whistle, and she openly expressed her own opposition to transgender equality to justify blocking his nomination. These rationales have little to do with Colom’s actual record, which makes him well qualified for this position. 

Alliance for Justice President Rakim H.D. Brooks issued the following statement: 

“We’ve seen this movie before. We know Senate Republicans block the nominees of Democratic presidents specifically to hoard judicial vacancies for themselves. Senator Hyde-Smith has presented another crystal-clear example. Her objections have little to do with Scott Colom’s record and everything to do with her extreme political positions. This is not about Mississippi. It’s about absolute control over the judicial confirmation process. 

“Senate Republicans must not be allowed to veto well-qualified nominees. Mississippi deserves to see this seat filled expeditiously so we urge the advancement of Mr. Colom and all other nominees pending action. An end to the blue slip is essential to filling every judicial seat with judges committed to equality and justice for all — before it is too late.”