This afternoon, Minnesota Senator Al Franken indicated that he would not return a “blue-slip” for President Trump’s nomination of David Stras to serve on the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.
As The Washington Times detailed earlier this year, senators from the home-state of one of the president’s judicial picks have the opportunity to try and obstruct the nominee by not returning their “blue-slips,” to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
In this case, Sen. Franken’s decision is purely political and has nothing to do with Justice Stras’ esteemed credentials. Experts on both sides of the aisle have praised Justice Stras, saying that he is “not beholden to anyone,” and six Minnesota law professors wrote a piece this summer that commended him for being “intelligent and impartial,” and calling on him to be confirmed. Furthermore, the highly respected American Bar Association gave Justice Stras its highest rating, “well-qualified,” when evaluating his nomination.
On top of that, Sen. Franken is now going against the very logic that he outlined in 2016 when it came to considering judicial nominees. On his own website, Franken attacked others for “the unprecedented use of filibusters, holds, and other procedural tactics” that “delayed an extraordinary number of highly qualified people,” and clearly stated that the federal government “need to have personnel” so it can “function the way it’s supposed to for Minnesotans and all Americans.”
The bottom line: Minnesotans and legal experts both overwhelmingly agree that Justice Stras is an accomplished jurist who is capable of serving admirably. Unfortunately, Sen. Franken has chosen to go against his past precedent and play politics on this nomination, indicating that he puts a higher priority on appealing to activist liberals than he does on working to see a qualified Minnesotan put on the federal bench.