This excerpt is from a piece that originally ran on July 7, 2022.
Jake Faleschini, interim justice program director of the Alliance for Justice, a progressive organization that tracks federal judicial vacancies, said there are 83 current and announced vacancies without nominees, including 10 in circuit courts of appeal and 73 in district courts.
“At the current pace and the current schedule, even if the administration and the Senate were to proceed at roughly the same pace, that would still leave roughly 50 vacancies on the district courts at the end of the year,” Faleschini said.
Faleschini said the blue slip tradition came into prominent use by segregationist senators in the 1960s to block judicial nominees of color or nominees who opposed racist ideology.
“There’s a long racist history to the blue slip that is very similar to the racist history of the filibuster,” Faleschini said.
States such as Louisiana, with two GOP senators, could force Biden and Senate Democrats to choose nominees more cautiously, but Faleschini said they have bigger priorities to worry about right now — the 10 appellate court vacancies.
Faleschini pointed out that Sen. Johnson’s blue slip refusal for William Pocan should have served as the writing on the wall for Democrats.
“That is the sort of action that could and should trigger a change in the rules,” he said.