Senate Democrats tout judicial confirmations amid criticisms – JP
Durbin has stood by the blue slip process, which requires both home-state senators return blue slips on a district court nomination before a confirmation hearing is set. That gives senators a de facto veto over appointments to district court seats in their home states.
Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith has leaned on the tradition in formally blocking the nomination of Scott Colom, who Biden picked for a judgeship position in the federal Northern District of Mississippi.
Last week, the Congressional Black Caucus urged Durbin to change the practice, arguing that it’s outdated, according to a caucus summary of the meeting.
The caucus told Durbin that the tradition is an obstacle in confirming judges who will defend the rights of Black Americans when it comes to issues like voting rights and preserving protections against discrimination, according to the summary.
A coalition of organizations, including progressive groups Demand Justice and Alliance for Justice, sent a letter to Durbin calling for him to change or discontinue blue slips. The groups said they are concerned that the tradition, if left unchanged, will stop Biden from filling dozens of vacancies on the federal bench.