Judicial nominees

On blue slips, Grassley pulls the trigger

Featured image Yesterday was a bad day for Al Franken. In the morning Leeann Tweeden posted the photograph of the sexual assault committed by Franken on her along with the compelling first-person account of her mistreatment by Franken. That was a shot heard round the world. Then in the afternoon Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley announced that he would not let Franken’s withheld blue slip block the nomination of Minnesota Supreme »

Willett’s defense

Featured image Senator Patrick Leahy is the Democratic former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He remains a member of the committee. He must be one of the Senate’s unfunniest senators and most partisan hacks. Vice President Cheney spoke for a lot of us with his imprecation to Leahy back in 2004. Serving on the Judiciary Committee with Minnesota’s own Al Franken, however, has probably dimmed Leahy’s bulb in all departments. Leahy »

The blue slip variations: Grassley speaks

Featured image On early Monday morning I wrote about the November 2 memorandum to news media disseminated by the Senate Judiciary Committee Majority. I wrote that the memo would probably not have been disseminated without Senator Grassley’s blessing as chairman of the Judiciary Committee and that the memo read like a backgrounder for reporters explaining a course of action that is about to be taken (and should be). Later that day Senator »

The blue slip variations

Featured image The Senate Judiciary Committee has gotten down to work holding hearings on President Trump’s nominees to the federal appellate courts. The confirmation of these nominees has only begun to redress the substantial effect achieved by President Obama with the help of Harry Reid and the Democrats. Although the Democrats have now gone to absurd lengths to throw sand in the gears of the confirmation process under President Trump, the pace »

The ABA’s attack on Steve Grasz — behind the curtain

Featured image I wrote here about the ABA’s unfair attack on Steve Grasz, President Trump’s nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. The ABA rated Grasz “not qualified” based on what amounts to character assassination. Republicans on the Judiciary Committee were not amused. Chairman Grassley stated: This rating is very surprising to me and to many other Senators on the Committee. When I look at Mr. Grasz’s resume, »

The ABA’s unfair attack on judicial nominee Steve Grasz

Featured image President Trump, Majority Leader McConnell, and Senate Judiciary Chairman Grassley are combining to great effect to confirm nominees to U.S. Courts of Appeals. However, one nominee, Steve Grasz of Nebraska, has hit a stumbling block. The American Bar Association’s judicial evaluations committee rated him “Not Qualified” for a position on the Eighth Circuit. When I first read this, I was surprised and amused. I was surprised because the ABA rarely »

Confirmation week

Featured image This morning, the Senate confirmed the nomination of Notre Dame Law professor Amy Barrett as a U.S. Circuit Judge for the Seventh Circuit. The vote was 55-43. Three Democrats — Sen. Joe Donnelly, Sen. Tim Kaine, and Sen. Joe Manchin — broke ranks and voted to confirm Barrett. They thus rejected the suggestion by Sen. Dianne Feinstein and others on the Senate Judiciary Committee that Barrett is too Catholic to »

McConnell’s “confirmation frenzy”

Featured image Senate Majority Leader McConnell today filed cloture motions to advance the confirmation of four of President Trump’s court of appeals nominees. The nominees are Allison Eid (10th Circuit); Stephanos Bibas (3rd Circuit); Joan Larsen (6th Circuit); and Amy Coney Barrett (7th Circuit). Eid and Larsen were on the list of potential Supreme Court nominees then-candidate Trump came up with during the campaign. Barrett is the nominee attacked by Democrats as »

Confirm Greg Katsas

Featured image Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the nomination of Greg Katsas to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Katsas is hugely qualified for this important judgeship. As I discussed here, he was executive editor of the Harvard Law Review, a Supreme Court clerk for Justice Thomas, and a high ranking attorney at the Justice Department during the George W. Bush administration. Katsas has »

The unfunniest senator

Featured image The Autumn 2017 issue of City Journal is forthcoming from the Manhattan Institute. It carries my short column “The unfunniest senator.” The column is about Al Franken and his McCarthyite ruminations on two of President Trump’s judicial nominees. Given Franken’s contribution to the blue slip controversy this week, the editors have made the column available online this afternoon. Please check it out. I am grateful to editors Brian Anderson and »

Franken in mind

Featured image Yesterday we covered the fate of the blue slip used by home state Senators to block judicial nominees. We heard from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell via Fred Barnes and from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley via Taylor Foy. What’s happening here isn’t exactly clear, but Senator Grassley’s reference to disregarding withheld blue slips on a case by case basis involving “abuse” of the practice — can in my »

The Grassley proviso

Featured image In my post on Fred Barnes’s scoop on Senate Majority Leader McConnell’s declaration on the evanescence of the the senatorial blue slip, I asked for the ocular proof. Now Politico reports that Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Grassley may have a wrinkle or two to add to Senator McConnell’s declaration: »

Goodbye, blue slips!?

Featured image In news of interest to those of us who have been following the judicial confirmation wars in the Senate in general and in the matter of the nomination of Justice David Stras to the Eighth Circuit in particular, Fred Barnes reports that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has taken the reins, whipped the horse and expedited matters. Fred supplies this bill of particulars (the first of which I have slightly »

Minnesota machinations

Featured image Over the past several months I’ve reported the machinations involving President Trump’s nomination of Minnesota Justice David Stras to the Eighth Circuit. The nomination dates back to early May. The nomination remains in limbo. President Trump has yet to nominate candidates for four other vacancies including United States Marshal, United States Attorney and two federal district court judgeships. All these pieces are in play. The principal players dealing with the »

Klobuchar shows her blue slip

Featured image Minnesota Senator Al Franken has declared that he will not return his blue slip on President Trump’s nomination of Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Stras to the Eighth Circuit. By withholding his blue slip Franken seeks to block Stras’s nomination from consideration by the Senate. Franken’s statement on the Stras nomination is posted online here. I have been working like a beast of burden to ascertain whether Minnesota Senator Amy »

Trump keeps winning on judicial nominations

Featured image During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump promised that, under his presidency, America would win so much we might get tired of it. He added, however, that you can never get tired of winning. So far, Trump’s presidency has not put that caveat to the test. But President Trump is winning big on judicial nominations. He’s nominating outstanding men and women, and most of them seem destined to be confirmed. This »

What we’ve got here is failure to kommunicate

Featured image Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar has issued her statement on President Trump’s nomination of Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Stras to the Eighth Circuit. There is a quality of unintentional self-parody to Senator Klobuchar’s statement. The statement reads like it might have been written by a staffer satirizing Senator Klobuchar’s public persona. This is the statement in its entirety: Justice Stras has served on the Minnesota Supreme Court for seven years. »