Understanding the Blue Slip Debate

Key Points

The blue slip is an uncodified Senate tradition. As such, various chairs of the Senate Judiciary Committee have treated their influence differently.
For the majority of the blue slip’s history, it has not served as a recognized veto of judicial nominees. Nevertheless, it is also true that the current policy of regularly allowing nominees to proceed over the objection of both home-state senators is a deviation from tradition.
The Senate’s current consideration of blue slips allows the judiciary to operate at fuller capacity but limits the input of home-state senators, potentially spurring future political retaliation.

“Blue slips are an informal tradition and courtesy to the senators of a judicial nominee’s home state. Historically, they were not always recognized as judicial vetoes, but the current approach of regularly advancing nominations over the objections of both home-state senators is a deviation from traditional Senate practice.”

Press release: R Street Shorts No. 68: Understanding the Blue Slip Debate

Image credit: New Africa

Featured Publications