To Transform Our Courts: End or Reform the Blue Slip

Blue graphic appearing to be on crumpled-up paper, reading "The blue slip is keeping champions of justice off the bench; The Blue slip has created two systems of justice in the U.S.; Blue slip obstructuon has segregationist roots.

Republican-appointed judges are rolling back our rights at an alarming rate. In order to roll back this tide, we must confirm qualified jurists committed to equal justice – filling every vacant seat.

The Senate’s blue slip policy allows home-state senators to signal their approval or disapproval of a judicial nominee appointed to a seat in their state by filling out and returning a blue slip of paper to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The SJC practice started as an informal courtesy to incentivize the President to collaborate with home state senators during the nominations process.

Today, it functions as a tool of obstruction: The blue slip empowers Republican senators to engage in bad-faith negotiations with the White House, delaying or outright blocking the nomination of judges to vacancies in their states. No matter where we live, we all deserve fair-minded judges who have demonstrated a commitment to equal justice and who understand the impact of the law and the needs of all of our communities. 

Republicans have weaponized the blue slip to deny the White House nominees and block highly qualified nominees from moving forward. While Democrats returned 130 blue slips for district court nominees during the Trump administration, Republicans have returned only 12 for Biden’s nominees in the first two years of his administration. Republicans have also used the threat of withholding blue slips to block the White House from even nominating fair-minded judges. The Alliance for Justice is calling on Congress to end or reform the blue slip process if it prevents highly qualified nominees from moving forward.  

...the process has morphed into a political tool of obstruction, asymmetrically used by Republicans to arbitrarily block a Democratic administration's nominees and rob the federal judiciary of highly qualified, diverse, and fair-minded district court judges in certain states.