Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Trump Is Disregarding Senate Norms to Get His Judges on the Bench
"Less than 24 hours before he fired FBI Director James Comey, President Donald Trump nominated 10 lawyers for lifetime positions as federal judges. Trump has repeatedly lashed out at judges who rule against him. It is no surprise, then, that he is rushing to appoint judges who are more likely to rubber-stamp his unconstitutional agenda. To vet and pick these nominees, President Trump relied on the same right-wing groups that compiled his list of potential Supreme Court nominees—the Federalist Society and The Heritage Foundation—organizations that want to push a conservative agenda through the courts. Trump ignored the traditional vetting role of the American Bar Association, bypassed state judicial nominating commissions, and failed to consult with home-state senators. For 100 years, Senate tradition has required senators to approve judicial nominees who would sit on the federal courts in their states. As part of that process, senators sign a blue slip of paper to signal their approval. The blue slip requires presidents to work with senators from both parties to fill empty judgeships. The blue slip process promotes a qualified and moderate judiciary. It is possible for senators to abuse the practice, as Senate Republicans did during the Obama administration, but the practice has survived since 1917 for a reason. Senators are in the best position to ensure that judicial nominees are well-respected in their local legal communities. In many states, senators establish commissions to vet and recommend the most qualified candidates. Given this local knowledge and the blue slip, the president traditionally consults with senators before nominating judges."