WASHINGTON, D.C., February 23, 2016: On a day when Senate Republicans have reiterated their intention to obstruct the confirmation of a justice to the U.S. Supreme Court, even before he or she has been nominated, 48 law professors from Marquette University Law School and the University of Wisconsin Law School have written a letter to Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) calling on him to finally submit to the Senate Judiciary Committee the “blue slip” that will permit the committee to begin the confirmation process for Donald K. Schott for a seat on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
This Seventh Circuit seat has been empty for over six years, and is the longest appeals-court vacancy in the country. In 2014, a bipartisan nominating commission established jointly by Sen. Johnson and Sen. Tammy Baldwin to assess the qualifications of nominees, found Mr. Schott to be fully qualified, matching the determination of the American Bar Association, which found him “unanimously well qualified.” In order for the nomination to proceed to the Senate Judiciary Committee for full consideration, however, both of Wisconsin’s senators must submit a so-called “blue slip,” and, to date, Sen. Johnson has refused to do so in spite of the recommendation of the commission he himself created. Sen. Johnson’s actions are consistent with the partisan blockade of President Obama’s judicial nominees which has been in evidence for over seven years, and now extends to the Supreme Court.
As the professors state in their plea to Sen. Johnson, “With a well-qualified nominee who has the bipartisan support of your selection commission, there is no justification for further delay in filling this important seat. The people of Wisconsin deserve full representation on the Seventh Circuit, and all those within the Seventh Circuit’s jurisdiction, including Illinois and Indiana, deserve access to a fully-staffed court. We hope that you will return your blue slip and also that you will urge your Senate colleagues to ensure that this qualified nominee is confirmed.”
A copy of the letter is attached, and may also be downloaded here.