Yesterday, the Senate voted to end debate on the nomination of David Stras to a Minnesota seat on the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the confirmation vote will take place this afternoon. The Senate’s confirmation of this nominee is deeply troubling because he was moved through the nominations process despite the fact that Al Franken, who at the time was one of Stras’ home-state Senators, had not consented to the nomination. Senator Chuck Grassley’s decision to override then-Sen. Franken’s objection to the nomination violated the Senate’s 100-year old “blue slip” tradition. But you don’t need to go back a hundred years to find the hypocrisy in Senator Grassley’s decision: during the Obama Administration, Republican home-state Senators blocked 18 judicial nominations from even receiving a hearing.
Today’s vote strikes a blow against Senators’ constitutional responsibility to provide advice and consent on nominations. And it does not appear that it will be the last: last week, Senator Grassley again rode roughshod over a home-state Senator’s objection when he held a hearing for Michael Brennan despite the fact that Senator Tammy Baldwin had not returned her blue slip.