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Wednesday, 13 September 2017 12:35

On Washington: As G.O.P. Moves to Fill Courts, McConnell Takes Aim at an Enduring Hurdle

Written by  CARL HULSE

WASHINGTON — President Trump is eager to put his conservative imprint on the federal judiciary, but an impediment remains.

Though the Senate has virtually eliminated the ability of the minority party to block appointments to the bench from the Supreme Court on down, individual senators can still thwart nominees from their home states by refusing to sign off on a form popularly known for its color — the blue slip.

Now, with some Democrats refusing to consent as the Trump administration moves to fill scores of judicial vacancies, Senator Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican and majority leader, is for the first time publicly advocating that the blue slip be made strictly advisory when it comes to appeals court nominees — the most powerful judges after those on the Supreme Court.

“My personal view is that the blue slip, with regard to circuit court appointments, ought to simply be a notification of how you’re going to vote, not the opportunity to blackball,” Mr. McConnell said in an interview with The New York Times for “The New Washington” podcast. He said he favored retaining the blue slip authority for lower-level district court judges.

With the conflict escalating, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, has requested a meeting with Mr.

Read more at NYTimes

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