A conservative political pundit insists that it is about time for the Republican Senate leadership to pull the plug on a tradition that allows individual senators to block a presidential judicial nominee.
The Washington Times reports that Minnesota Democrat Al Franken announced that he will use an arcane Senate tradition to try to derail one of President Donald Trump's appeals for court nominees – marking an escalation in what has become a nasty fight over the shape of the federal judiciary.
Franken revealed that he will not return his "blue slip" for Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Stras – the president's nominee for the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Under Senate tradition, the chamber will not move forward on a judicial nominee unless both home-state senators return their blue slips – signifying approval of the pick. This has lately become an effective tool of the Democrats to block Trump's nominees.
Not surprisingly, Franken objects to Stras because the nominee looks to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and the late Justice Antonin Scalia as role models.
American Civil Rights Union Senior Fellow Robert Knight, who is also a columnist for the Washington Times, maintains that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell needs to take action – now.
"McConnell should step in and say, ‘Look, you're abusing the courtesy – you've abused it, and we're going to forward the nominee anyway,” Knight insisted. “In the future, we'll generally follow the ‘blue slip’ process, unless it's abused because you've abused it … because you have sited political differences, and not differences in the character of the nominee.”
He continued his suggested words for McConnell.
“You said you don't like his politics, his constitutional views mirroring those of Justice Thomas and Scalia,” Knight added in his mock offering of what McConnell should say to Franken. “That's no reason to keep somebody from the high bench if they're fully qualified. So, since you abused the privilege, forget it. We're not giving you that privilege anymore."