Despite his highly controversial record, and despite home-state Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) not returning a “blue-slip,” Michael Brennan was confirmed to the judiciary on a 49-46 vote.
Forgot exactly which horrible nominee Mr. Brennan was? Totally understandable. There are a lot of them now. Refresh your memory here.
Senator Chuck Grassley, (R-IA) Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, ignored Senate protocol for the second time and proceeded with Brennan’s nomination despite home-state objections. Which is so interesting, as he was such a strong supporter of blue slips just a few years ago, having used the blue-slip process to reject several nominees from President Obama. His views are immortalized in writing, of course. Here are some great resources to study about that other Senator Grassley of several years ago.
- 10 Things You Need To Know About Blue Slips (Huffpost)
- Opinion: Republicans Reversed Course on ‘Blue Slips’ for Judicial Nominees (Dianne Feinstein)
- “Blue Slip” Home-State Senators’ Approval Needed for Judicial Nominees (JudgingtheEnvironment)
The video below is from a town hall meeting in 2017. Lots of obfuscation on Grassley’s part… “Hey, look over here, this guy and his sister…” His questioner is politely relentless. He has done his homework, holds his ground and nails him on the “expert” part, because, well, (spoiler alert) it’s Grassley himself.
The senator has deleted his open comment line, and chances are slim that his offices are taking calls from non-constituents. If you are his constituent, call him in Des Moines at 515-288-1145 or in DC at 202-224-3744. You can also email him here.
Action #1 – Send a “whistleblower” message to Chuck!
Send your comments here: firstname.lastname@example.org.
One comment example: (Send us your great examples!)
I’m writing to alert you that the century-old, bi-partisan Senate tradition called the “blue slip process” is being usurped by its staunchest defender, Senator Grassley, Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. We, the American public, need to know if moral or memory lapses are preventing him from recalling his positions of three or four years ago. We need to know if he has inadvertently added himself to the list of those who will leave office during this administration with reputations built over many years destroyed. Relevant examples are attached below.
The results of his committee are so important to a free democracy, that a public answer as to what is happening to Senator Grassley is critically important.
Thank you for your consideration of this matter..
Statement from 2014
Sen. Hatch Op-Ed: Protect the Senate’s important ‘advice and consent’ role
(Republican – Utah) 04/11/14
“The blue slip process is a Judiciary Committee tradition that dates back nearly a century …. it has greatly enhanced consultation and cooperation between home state senators and the White House. As Judiciary chairman, I continued this blue slip tradition. Not a single district court nominee received a committee hearing, and not one appeals court nominee was confirmed without the support of their home state senators…. As had been the case for more than a century, the filibuster and the blue slip process work together to make meaningful “advice and consent” a reality and to preserve a real check on the president’s appointment power…. Weakening 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 constitutional “advice and consent” role knows how disastrous such a move would be. … A confirmation process without filibuster or blue slip veto would weaken the collaboration between the president and the Senate, further politicize the confirmation process, and ultimately produce a more politicized federal judiciary. I sincerely hope that the majority will not continue to sacrifice the good of the Senate and the good of the country simply to serve short-term political interests. I’m glad Chairman Leahy has preserved the blue slip process. It should stay that way.”
Statement from 2015
“For nearly a century, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee has brought nominees up for committee consideration only after both home-state senators have signed and returned what’s known as a “blue slip.” This tradition is designed to encourage outstanding nominees and consensus between the White House and home-state senators. Over the years, Judiciary Committee chairs of both parties have upheld a blue-slip process, including Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, my immediate predecessor in chairing the committee, who steadfastly honored the tradition even as some in his own party called for its demise. I appreciate the value of the blue-slip process and also intend to honor it.”
Action #2 – Ask your senator to have a talk with him.
Senator Feinstein: DC (202) 224-3841, LA (310) 914-7300, SF (415) 393-0707, SD (619) 231-9712, Fresno (559) 485-7430
and Senator Harris: DC (202) 224-3553, LA (213) 894-5000, SAC (916) 448-2787, Fresno (559) 497-5109, SF (415) 355-9041, SD (619) 239-3884
Other Contacts: http://www.phoneyourrep.com