McConnell: I Applaud Chairman Grassley For Not Allowing Blue Slip Courtesy To Be Abused
‘Perhaps our Democratic colleagues now feel buyer’s remorse over the change to Senate Rules they jammed through this body. But they should not be allowed to use the committee’s blue slip courtesy - which is neither a committee rule, nor a Senate Rule - as another way to block the consideration of nominees with majority support.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding more of the president’s well-qualified judicial nominees and Senate Democrats’ abuse of the blue slip courtesy in the confirmation process:
“Our colleague Senator Grassley has done an outstanding job processing the president’s judicial nominees, beginning with the president’s selection of Judge Neil Gorsuch to serve on the Supreme Court. Chairman Grassley and the members of the Judiciary Committee continue their important work today as the committee holds a hearing for three more of the president’s judicial nominees, including two well-qualified nominees to our circuit courts, Justice David Stras and Mr. Stuart Kyle Duncan.
“The Committee’s hearing today is particularly important because it means that one member of this body – in this case, the junior Senator from Minnesota – cannot single-handedly block the committee from considering an extraordinarily well-qualified nominee to serve on our circuit courts. That nominee is Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Stras.
“Justice Stras is an impressively qualified and widely admired member of Minnesota’s highest court. He was raised by a single mother and is the grandson of a survivor of the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz. Justice Stras graduated first in his class from the University of Kansas Law School. He has clerked on the court of appeals and the United States Supreme Court.
“He worked for several years in private practice until he joined the faculty of the University of Minnesota Law School. He was appointed to the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2010, and in 2012, Minnesota voters elected him to a full term on their highest court. His reputation in the Minnesota legal community is impeccable. It is no wonder the American Bar Association, hardly a right-wing organization, gave him its highest rating, unanimously well qualified.
“Nevertheless, the junior Senator from Minnesota does not support Justice Stras receiving so much as a hearing. That approach is untenable in light of the recent actions of our Democratic colleagues. A little more than four years ago, they eliminated the supermajority requirement for ending debate on lower court nominees. They did so, they said, because they believed that a minority of the Senate should not be able to prevent the confirmation of a nominee who enjoyed the support of a majority of this body.
“Perhaps our Democratic colleagues now feel buyer’s remorse over the change to Senate Rules they jammed through this body. But they should not be allowed to use the committee’s blue slip courtesy – which is neither a committee rule, nor a Senate Rule – as another way to block the consideration of nominees with majority support.
“As Chairman Grassley has pointed out, that approach is not the way the blue slip courtesy was first used, nor is it the way the vast majority of Judiciary Committee Chairmen have used it. And after Senate Democrats changed the Senate’s Rules to prevent 41 Senators from stopping a nominee, our Democratic colleagues cannot now think it is tenable to give just one Senator absolute power, via the blue slip, to do so.
“In this case, the junior Senator from Minnesota acknowledges that it is ‘undeniably true’ that Justice Stras is a ‘committed public servant whose tenure as a professor at the University of Minnesota underscores just how much he cares about the law.’ Yet our colleague objects to the committee even considering his nomination.
“Why does he want to block a widely respected and accomplished state Supreme Court justice from his own state whom his constituents support? Because our colleague doesn’t agree with the United States Supreme Court Justices whom the nominee admires, one of whom the nominee happened to clerk for. I applaud Chairman Grassley for not allowing the blue slip courtesy to be abused in this fashion, and I look forward to learning more about Justice Stras’s views from today’s hearing.”
Related Issues: Judicial Nominations, Nominations