Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, as I wrote Thursday, is considering ending the blue slip process for judicial nominees. The blue slip allows senators to block the president's nominees. Dozens of Democrats have now chosen to withhold their blue slips, most recently Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, and McConnell is ready to make it merely a symbolic gesture.
The New York Times editorial board are now accusing the Senate leader of hypocrisy, reminding readers that back when he was in the minority party, McConnell was happy to employ the use of blue slips.
Republican senators exploited their blue slips with abandon, and with little or no explanation. One senator blocked a nominee because she had once said the Constitution did not protect an individual right to bear arms — an accurate description of the uncertainty about the law at the time. Other senators blocked nominees they had previously approved for other courts, or even recommended to the White House themselves. In all, 18 of Mr. Obama’s judicial nominees were scuttled, including six to the Courts of Appeals. That’s not counting dozens more vacancies that languished for years without a nominee because senators made it clear they would object to anyone.
"It’s particularly rich, if not surprising," for McConnell to now wanting to upend the blue slip system, the editors add.
The NYT goes on to acknowledge that Democrats are now engaging in the same form of obstructionism. However, the difference is that the Democrats supposedly have legitimate complaints with the justices that Trump has nominated, whereas the Republicans were on a fool's errand.
Unlike their Republican counterparts, however, these Democrats provided a clear explanation for their opposition: The White House, they said, made no meaningful effort to consult with them before making nominations. Mr. Wyden and Mr. Merkley said Mr. Trump had completely bypassed Oregon’s well-established bipartisan selection committee.
In this "toxic, hyperpartisan age," Trump has an obligation to seek the advice of the Senate, the editors insist. He received 3 million fewer popular votes than Hillary Clinton, so the least he can do is listen to the opposing party, they add.
I wonder why he wouldn't want to seek the advice of Democrats on his judicial nominations after dozens refused to even acknowledge his election victory. Some didn't even consider him legitimate.
However, it seems Trump is warming up to Democratic leadership in other areas, namely the debt and illegal immigration.