Blue Slips Become Issue in Senate
Blue slips are slips given to each Senator from a nominee’s home state where they write an opinion either a favorable or unfavorable opinion of the nominee before the Senate Judiciary Committee takes action.
Senator Bob Casey is one of the Senators who has been withholding his blue slip on Stephanos Bibas, a law professor from the University of Pennsylvania, who was nominated to the Third Circuit.
“Sadly, Bob Casey continues to embrace his far-left ‘resistance leader’ status. His newest form of obstruction — refusing to return his blue slip for our highly qualified Keystone State nominee — is a disservice to Pennsylvania and its citizens,” PA GOP Chairman Val DiGiorgio said in a statement.
The messaging on blue slips is also coming from national Republicans as well.
“Senate Democrats are using every weapon in their arsenal to delay President Trump’s nominees and ignore the will of the American people,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement.
The effort is one of the most successful coordinated efforts between the White House, national, and state level Republicans since Trump took office. The effort is likely part of a larger push by the administration to combat reports they haven’t fully staffed the administration.
McDaniel called the move by Democrats “unprecedented” but some Senate Republicans used the same tactic to delay hearings on appeals court nominees under President Obama. Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey withheld his blue slip for Judge L. Felipe Restrepo, who was also nominated to the Third Circuit.
During that time, Republicans said Democrats were trying to make the blue slips an issue ahead of Toomey’s re-election campaign the following year in an attempt to make Toomey look bad.
Update: Sources tell PoliticsPA that Republicans have misrepresented Casey’s actions. They say that Casey only received the paperwork for his blue slip about Bibas’ nomination this morning.
The Pennsylvania Democratic Party responded to the claims from Republicans.
“Before launching these absurd attacks, Republicans should get their basic facts straight. Mr. Bibas’ paperwork was received by the Senate Judiciary Committee late last night and only forwarded on to Senator Casey’s office this morning — around the same the GOP were drafting their statements claiming obstruction. Senator Casey has a strong bipartisan record of working to confirm judicial nominees from both Republican and Democratic presidents and will continue to evaluate candidates as the administration puts their names forward,” Pennsylvania Democratic Party spokesman Max Steele said in an email.