Bloomberg Law
March 28, 2019, 3:00 PM

Senate Blue Slip Custom ‘Essentially Dead,’ Feinstein Says

John Crawley
John Crawley
Patrick L. Gregory
Patrick L. Gregory

The Senate Judiciary Committee’s top Democrat struck out at Republicans on Thursday for brushing aside a century-old tradition of only considering judicial nominees who’ve been approved by both of their home-state senators.

“The change in practice not only harms the Senate, but it harms the federal judiciary,” said California’s Dianne Feinstein of the “blue slip” custom that Republicans have abandoned this year to speed confirmation of conservative appeals court selections nominated by President Donald Trump.

“I take it without notice or discussion, the blue slip is essentially dead,” Feinstein told a judiciary panel hearing to vote on a handful of judicial nominees, including Kenneth Lee and Daniel Collins to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

The Republican-led committee deferred its vote on Lee and Collins until next week at the request of Democrats, when Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham said he’d respond to Feinstein’s remarks.

Feinstein and California’s other Democratic senator, Kamala Harris, both oppose Lee and Collins.

To contact the reporters on this story: John Crawley in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jessie Kokrda Kamens at; Rebekah Mintzer at