It’s time to correct the record again about blue slips.
Earlier this week, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley announced that he would be holding a hearing tomorrow morning for Ryan Bounds, President Trump’s nominee to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Portland, Oregon, and an experienced federal prosecutor. The President nominated Mr. Bounds on September 7, 2017 (an astonishing 242 days ago). In response to the announced hearing, Senator Mazie Hirono, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, tweetedyesterday, “This has never been done before and should not happen now. These are not normal times.” Senator Hirono’s tweet couldn’t be more wrong, as it grossly misstates the way the blue slip has been treated historically.
The first of these two aberrations was Democratic Senator James Eastland, a widely-recognized segregationist who, according to Villanova Law Professor Tuan Samahon, “endowed the blue slip with veto power to, among other things, keep Mississippi’s federal bench free of sympathizers with Brown v. Board of Education.” In other words, the single-senator veto approach to the blue slip was developed by a Democrat seeking to perpetuate systemized racism.