WASHINGTON, D.C., February 18, 2021 – Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin confirmed this week that he will maintain the policy of not allowing senators to block circuit court nominees using the “blue slip” process. This is consistent with how the Trump administration advanced 17 different judges to the appeals courts over the objections of home-state senators — nearly 10% of 179 circuit court seats that exist.
Alliance for Justice President Nan Aron issued the following statement:
“In their haste to appoint Trump’s disturbingly ultraconservative judicial nominees, Senate Republicans ignored their Democratic colleagues’ objections over 17 circuit court seats. A quintessential example was Lawrence VanDyke, who Trump nominated to a Ninth Circuit seat in Nevada. He had laughably weak ties to Nevada, a record so anti-LGBTQ that the American Bar Association deemed him ‘not qualified,’ and both Nevada senators objected to his nomination. Senate Republicans confirmed him anyway.
There’s no reason for Senate Democrats to revert back to the old rules just to make it more difficult on themselves. Fair is fair, and Chair Durbin is absolutely making the right call. There is a shocking lack of diversity on several of our circuit courts — including panels without a single judge of color — that the Biden administration has a real opportunity to rectify. It remains to be seen if Senate Republicans will exercise good faith in finding consensus nominees for district court seats.”