Judicial appointments come and go, but certain appointments can create a tsunami effect — which is exactly what is happening in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals right now.
President Donald Trump’s latest judicial nominee, Eric Miller, is headed for Senate confirmation after receiving no blue slip approvals from his home state of California.
The Blue Slip
Senators often offer their opinions of judicial nominees via blue slips. For years, a nominee would not even move to cloture if there was not “blue slip” support for them.
That tradition, however, has come and gone — mostly due to a Democrat grab for power.
Indeed, Dems were the ones to take the teeth out of the tradition.
Blue slips first rose to popularity in the mid-1950s, when then-Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman James Eastland (D) required both senators from the nominee’s home state to submit a positive blue slip on the nominee’s behalf for their appointment to be up for a vote.
But that tradition went by the wayside during the Jimmy Carter administration in the 1970s, when only a single positive blue slip was required.
Then, during the Barack Obama administration, the rules were dramatically changed for judicial appointments.
Democrats decided that only a majority was needed to get an appointment through, a change from the 60 votes needed prior. And since Democrats held a small majority at the time, they were able to force through Obama appointments at will.
History in the Making
The current nominee in question, Eric Miller, hails from California. But since both senators from California are currently Democrats, it is no surprise Miller did not receive a positive blue slip from them.
That did not matter to Chuck Grassley, who completely did away with blue slip approval during his time as the Judiciary Committee chair, nor does it matter to current chair of the committee, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).
Rather than allow Democrats to block nominations for political reasons, Grassley and Graham have put blue slip approval on the backburner. This is monumental for conservatives, as President Trump will finally be able to make a dent in the liberal ideology that currently permeates the California judiciary.
For his part, Miller has an impressive record as well as a “well qualified” rating from the American Bar Association, its highest rating, meaning his future is bright.
If Miller does, in fact, win Senate approval, it will open the door for several other nominees Trump has sitting on deck for the Ninth Circuit. And that can only mean good things for Americans.