Public Nuisance

Random commentary and senseless acts of blogging.

The first Republican president once said, "While the people retain their virtue and their vigilance, no administration by any extreme of wickedness or folly can seriously injure the government in the short space of four years." If Mr. Lincoln could see what's happened in these last three-and-a-half years, he might hedge a little on that statement.
-Ronald Reagan

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Monday, October 27, 2003
 
Blue Meanies

Calpundit posted on the changing rules for blue slips, the traditional Senate practice which essentially gives Senators from the home state of a judicial nominee the right to block that nominee from being considered by the Senate.

Kevin has noted the dishonesty of the crocodile tears of Bill Frist and his fellow RNC spokespuppets at Fox News at the 'unprecedented' acts of Democrats against Bush judicial nominees. Although strictly speaking there are few (not none) precedents for filibustering of judicial nominees, the GOP has repeatedly changed the blue slip rules, to make approval harder under Clinton, then changed again to make it easier under Bush. However, the facts are even stronger than Kevin mentioned. Judiciary chairman Hatch has not only gone from allowing a single Senator from a nominee's home state to block an appointment to requiring both Senators, he is now talking about going ahead without the support of either Senator for a group of Bush nominees from Michigan. Hatch is troubled by the fact that Michigan's Senators, both Democrats, have used the blue slip 'irresponsibly' by not approving Bush nominees he supports.

Also, Kevin appears to be wrong in saying that Democrats changed existing blue slip rules when Jeffords switched the control in 2001. Although Hatch planned on easing the rules during early 2001, when Republicans had a narrow Senate majority, he seems not to have actually done so. There wasn't enough time, since the period was dominated by Cabinet and other Executive appointments along with the first tax cut. So the Democrats didn't actually change anything when they took over post-Jeffords, they kept the existing rules. The rules were changed this year, however. According to Senator Leahy, "Today is the first time that this Chairman will ever have convened a hearing for a judicial nominee who did not have two positive blue slips returned to the Committee. The first time, ever. Despite protestations that this has been the Chairman’s consistent policy over time, the facts show exactly the opposite."



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