Bloomberg Law: Fate of Senate Custom an Early Test for Durbin on Judicial Picks
This excerpt is from a piece that originally ran on February 4, 2021.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, (D-R.I.), a progressive favorite who entertained a bid for the Judiciary chairmanship, said at a Jan. 27 panel discussion that a test for Democrats would be whether they’re willing to be tough on Republicans who withhold blue slips.
Whitehouse recommends Durbin honor blue slips from Democrats on circuit nominees “because that’s been our tradition.” But, he said, “the Republicans, as far as I’m concerned, have utterly waved their rights to have any claim to a blue slip for circuit courts, so I wouldn’t pay any attention to them.”
He also told the panel event held by progressive judicial advocacy group Alliance for Justice that he wasn’t sure whether Durbin had made a final decision but that maintaining the same standard Republicans used was the “logical position.”
“If we go back to giving Republican senators circuit court blue slips, progressive heads are going to explode all across the country by the tens of thousands,” Whitehouse said.
Nan Aron, president and founder of the progressive Alliance for Justice, said in an interview that Democrats made clear during the Trump years that there was “no going back” on circuit blue slips. Now that they control the process, Aron said she assumes Democrats will “remain true to their word.”