The “blue slip” wrangle heats up

US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, staunch defender of tradition at the World’s Most Moss-Ridden Deliberative Body, has taken a bold step that puts him at odds with our own Senator Patrick Leahy.  

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Wednesday said he opposes to the nomination of President Obama’s pick for the federal bench, Georgia state Judge Michael Boggs, pointing to his history of controversial positions on issues ranging from abortion to the confederate flag.

,,, “I’ve not talked to [Judiciary Chairman] Pat Leahy personally. I will do that,” Reid said in an interview with BuzzFeed. “Unless I have a better explanation. I can’t vote for him.”

For those just joining us, Boggs’ nomination was part of a deal with Georgia’s two Republican Senators: you give us Boggs, we’ll refrain from blocking some of Obama’s nominees. Firebrand political blogger Charlie Pierce characterized the deal as “a slightly rancid little bit of Beltway logrolling,” which seems reasonably accurate.

The deal was necessary because Leahy, as chair of the Judiciary Committee, has mandated adherence to the Senate’s “blue slip” tradition, which gives each Senator the power to block judicial nominees from his/her home state. Which means any nominee from any state with a Republican Senator faces an uphill battle for confirmation.

By all accounts, Boggs’ record as a state judge is relatively unobjectionable. But before that, when he was a state lawmaker, he had a decidedly conservative record: he voted to retain the Confederate banner as part of the state flag, he favored restrictions on abortion rights, and opposed same-sex marriage. At a Judiciary hearing this week, Boggs disavowed some of his past positions, including support for a measure that would have publicly identified all doctors who performed abortions.

But still, thers a sizable gap between the two Boggses, and how are we to know which will emerge once he’s securely installed into a lifetime judicial seat? His nomination has drawn the active opposition of numerous liberal and progressive groups. In some cases, they’ve trained their fire directly on Leahy, who could change the “blue slip” process with the stroke of a pen.  

Leahy did not attend the Boggs hearing, and he appears to be offering a backdoor exit for his colleagues:

[Leahy] said in a statement that the burden remains with each senator on his or her due diligence and that senators must decide for themselves if the nominees are worthy.

The idea, apparently, is that the Boggs deal guaranteed his nomination but not his confirmation. It remains to be seen how Georgia’s devoutly conservative Senators would react if Senate Democrats sink the nomination. It might be the end of the “blue slip” whether St. Patrick likes it or not.

Postscript. I continue to be astounded by the lack of coverage this story has received in the Vermont media. Our Congressional delegation in general, and Leahy in particular, get very generous coverage for their many good works. But when the halo slips from St. Patrick’s blessed forehead, not a peep is heard, not a word read. Except when they publish Leahy’s own response to the kerfuffle, of course.

As I’ve said before, 99% of the time I’m proud to be represented by Pat Leahy. But this time, his actions deserve scrutiny. He’s getting it inside the Beltway, but not in his home state.  

One thought on “The “blue slip” wrangle heats up

  1. Boggs being shoehorned in to the SCOTUS. He “disavowed” everything? You’re kidding! What a surprise & bunch of BS. Someone who has had a very sketchy career which happens to be his record shows what kind of person & character he truely is. What am I missing here?

    As to lack of news in VT about Leahy, VT MSM has shown itself to be a mere club & nothing but a clique. Safety in numbers, all speak w/one voice like newsbots and are very likely muzzled from the top. Safety in numbers and move along folks nothing to see here. That’s not the job of purveyors of information & apex of the intelligentsia.

    They should stop the presses, hang it up, lock the doors & just go home if they can’t do their f’king jobs. It’s a top-down arrangement so the reporters deserve some slack, but many are writing stories that are unvetted or untrue such as Survey Monkey-gate. VT MSM equally disgusting for the most part including “VTs most trusted news source” WGOP. Not incliding VPR they are the closest to the real news we have.

    Herald is becoming tiresome with their ramped-up rhetoric on Ukraine, one recent editorial attempted to compare the activity in Ukraine, evoking WWII imagery by inserting the “Nazi” moniker. Owner timidly responding to complaints about the Times Argus reporting of Barre/Montpelier politics shameful — Pappas a hero. One will not win friends for being in the news business, they used to be called “Russian Herald” for their leftwingery. Catering to golfing buddies & other members of upper echelons of society who may not like what they read is not the job of the news industry.

    A reporter I knew & got all kinds of crap but her boss (one of them) responded to small-town tyrants who threatened to pull advertising with a hearty Syonara! Call us if you change your mind.  

    Astounded at how little ppl know or realize is going on. MSM esp here in VT should all be arrested & jailed for journalistic malpractice. All watch the news but when friends & fam hear the news-behind-the-news — the real news they’re the ones astounded. The incredulous responses a sight to behold.

    We don’t know what we don’t know but the mainstream media gets an F & a duncecap from me for not publishing the real news, result is the public doesn’t know anything.

    Reading the news from around the world & listening to what they in other countries have to say is an education & eye-opener. Once again newly & rudely awakened.  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *