The NYT's Love-Hate Relationship with Blue Slips:

In its March 9 editorial on judicial nominations (which I discussed here), the New York Times called for eliminating the use of "blue slips," through which home-state Senators can block judicial nominations. Specifically, the Times' editorialists wrote:

Mr. Leahy must decide whether to follow the Senate's "blue slip" tradition, which holds that judicial nominees should not move forward without their home-state senators' support. Blue slips have no constitutional basis, are undemocratic and are subject to abuse. The Republicans abandoned them when they controlled the Senate under Mr. Bush. Blue slips should be allowed to die a quiet death.

I am no fan of blue slips, and never have been. Yet, as Robert Alt notes, this is something of a change of heart for the Times. Back in 2001, the Times was all about blue slips, encouraging their use by Senate Democrats to block President Bush's judicial nominees. Back then, just before and after Bush announced his first crop of nominees, the Times wrote:

  • "[P]ast abuse does not mean the Democrats should now abandon the blue-slip policy completely and give the Republicans carte blanche . . . ." (April 27, 2001, A24)

  • "A key is for the Democrats to stand firm on enforcing the prerogative under the so-called blue-slip policy that allows any senator to block a nominee from his home state." (May 11, 2001, A34)