Not only are Mitch McConnell and Chuck Grassley reneging on the agreement they reached with Democrats earlier this month on federal judges, Grassley is being needlessly and egregiously assholish about it. The Committee has gone ahead, while supposedly in recess, with nomination hearings last week and this week. One of the nominees is a Perkins Coie partner named Eric Miller to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Miller’s senators are Washington State’s Democrats Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell. Miller was not on the list of recommended nominees from the state put together by the bipartisan committee—Murray, Cantwell, and Rep. Dave Reichert (R). He has a problematic record of litigating against and winning against Native Nations, making his career at the firm that “one Native leader called the go-to firm for jurisdictions that want ‘to fight an Indian Tribe.'” Despite the fact that he was not on the recommended list from the state, Trump nominated for this key court—the appeals court that has been the biggest thorn in Trump’s side.
Enter Grassley, who sent a gratuitously snotty letter to Murray and Cantwell last week, complaining that they haven’t rubber-stamped Miller. He actually wrote this to the senators:
“I will not allow senators to abuse the blue-slip courtesy by withholding the blue slip for political or ideological reasons.[…] This is particularly important for circuit-court nominees, who are nominated to regional courts that affect states, not just the home-state senators’ states.””It is a President’s prerogative to select his preferred judicial nominees for the Senate to consider. And it is your prerogative to vote against the nominee on the Senate floor if you do not think the nominee is qualified. […] But there are 98 other senators who also should have the opportunity to vote on this judicial nominee.”
Yeah. He said all that. After eight years of Republican refusal to approve President Obama’s nominees; after their blockade of Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland; after many Republican senators’ refusal to even meet with Obama to discuss nominees, he is pretending to be outraged that Cantwell and Murray aren’t rolling over for Trump.
As if he’s even bothering to honor blue slips in the first place! He plowed through on Ryan Bounds for the same circuit without the blue slips from Oregon’s Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley. The Judiciary Committee Republicans approved Bounds even after his racist undergraduate writings were unearthed. Bounds was headed to a floor vote until the lone African-American Republican senator, Tim Scott (LA) said he could not vote for him. Grassley doesn’t give a shit if Democrats approve of nominees. He’s just harassing Murray and Cantwell because that’s what Republicans do—harass women.