On November 13, 2018 President Trump nominated Joseph F. Bianco to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals for the seat held by Judge Reena Raggi, who took senior status in August 2018. The Senate did not act on Bianco’s nomination before the end of the Congress, and on January 3, 2019, his nomination was returned to the President. On January 23, 2019, President Trump renominated Bianco.
It’s important to note that Bianco’s nomination is being advanced over the objections of both of his home-state senators, Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand. Consistent with Senate practice for nearly a century, the Judiciary Committee should not proceed with a hearing without positive blue slips from both senators. The Congressional Research Service has found no known instance in which a nominee has ever been confirmed over the objections of both home-state senators. As Senator Orrin Hatch said in 2014, “[w]eakening or eliminating the blue slip process would sweep aside the last remaining check on the president’s judicial appointment power. Anyone serious about the Senate’s ‘advice and consent’ role knows how disastrous such a move would be.”