“Democrats have abused the blue slip process,” Carrie Severino proclaims. “It’s time to end the.” The former clerk for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas insists that we “deserve judges faithful to the rule of law, not to Washington special interests.” Democrat stalling of “highly qualified people” nominated by President Trump for positions as federal court judges is blatant hypocrisy.
Joan Larsen and Amy Coney Barrett are two prime examples of Democratic foot dragging. Larsen served as Supreme Court Justice for the Michigan Supreme Court and was nominated to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Barrett is a law professor at Notre Dame and up for a bench at the Seventh Circuit Appeals Court. Both were rated the highest available ranking of “well qualified” by the American Bar Association. In a statement, Severino points out “They are two of the most impressive lawyers of their generation and bring with them extensive experience.” She says opposing these nominations suggests that “Senate Democrats have a problem with accomplished, articulate conservative women.”
In a Wednesday meeting of the Senate Judiciary committee, ranking member Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) took offense at Barrett’s faith. Feinstein was worried about the way being a Catholic mother of seven would influence her rulings. “The dogma lives loudly within you and that’s of concern,” Feinstein sniped. Barrett assured the committee she “would never impose my own personal convictions on the law.”
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D., R.I.) grilled Larsen about ads airing in her support, sponsored by Judicial Crisis Network, the same conservative activist group Severino is president of. The same group sponsored ads favoring the nomination of Neil Gorsuch when he was up for consideration as Supreme Court Justice. Addressing Ms. Larsen, Whitehouse interrogated, “What do they think they’re going to get for their investment in your candidacy for the court?” An obviously offended Larsen was quick to fire back, “If anyone thinks they are buying something in terms of commercial interests, I don’t think my record bears that out.”
The biggest case of blatant hypocrisy comes from Sen. Al Franken (D., Minn.). Franken announced Tuesday that he was against approving David Stras. The Minnesota Supreme Court Justice is under consideration for the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. When first nominated in May, Franken was quick to endorse Stras, calling him a “committed public servant.”
Franken is on record in the past saying things like “highly qualified people should be confirmed to federal judicial posts without delay.” “For someone who slammed ‘procedural tactics’ [for] obstructing ‘highly qualified people’ from serving on the federal bench, Al Franken should be ashamed of his hypocrisy,” America Rising Squared spokesman Jeremy Adler said in a statement.
It seems that Franken’s opinion about Stras flipped a 180 when he found out who Stras considered his mentor. “Early in his career, Justice Stras worked as a law clerk for Justice Thomas, one of the Supreme Court’s most conservative members. “Justice Stras’s professional background and record strongly suggest that, if confirmed, he would embrace the legacy of his role models and reliably rule in favor of powerful corporate interests over working people, and that he would place a high bar before plaintiffs seeking justice at work, at school, and at the ballot box,” Franken wrote Tuesday in a statement. “The president should be seeking out judges who bridge the issues that divide us, but I fear that Justice Stras’s views and philosophy would lead him to reinforce those divisions and steer the already conservative Eighth Circuit even further to the right.”
Not only is Stras also rated “well qualified,” he is popular in Minnesota with support from Republicans and Democrats alike. “Justice Stras follows the law, he has broad support from across the political spectrum in Minnesota, he was re-elected by wide margins (wider margins than Sen. Franken), and he even earned the highest rating from the liberal American Bar Association,” confirms Severino.
Franken is taking advantage of anrule in the Senate known as “blue slips.” Stras and Franken are from the same state. Nominees who have the support of the State’s Senators get the slips. Not having one issued is considered by tradition to be automatic grounds for disqualification. Feinstein backs Franken up in support of honoring the unofficial rule.
“It’s the prerogative of home-state senators to evaluate potential federal judicial nominees and determine whether or not they are mainstream and well-suited to hold these important positions of public trust, which have real-world consequences for their constituents,” Sen. Feinstein states.
Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) is Chairman of the Judiciary committee considering the nominations of Barrett, Larsen, and Stras. He has the ability to disregard the traditional blue slip process and move forward with the nomination process. All three were named on May 8 and the vacancies are causing a backlog of cases in the respective circuits.
Ms. Severino urges Senator Grassley to break the gridlock and get things moving over the merit-less objections of obstructive Democrats. “Senator Grassley has all the evidence he needs that Democrats have abused the blue slip process and that it is time to move forward despite the obstruction.”
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