Mitch McConnell Hints At Weakening Dems’ Ability To Block Trump’s Judges

WASHINGTON ― Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is hinting at a potential major change in the way the Senate advances judicial nominees ― one that would strip Democrats of the ability to block many of President Donald Trump’s lifetime court picks.

In an interview with The New York Times, McConnell said he doesn’t think senators should be able to use “blue slips” to block U.S. Court of Appeals nominees. These are literally blue pieces of paper that senators turn in to the Judiciary Committee to signal that they’re ready for a nominee from their home state to get a hearing. Per long-standing tradition, the committee chairman won’t give a hearing to a judicial nominee until both senators from a nominee’s home state submit blue slips. If even one of those senators refuses to turn in a blue slip, that nominee goes nowhere.

McConnell said Wednesday, for the first time publicly, that he supports keeping the rule in place for U.S. District Court nominees but not for appeals court nominees, the most powerful judges on the federal bench after the Supreme Court.

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