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S7174 CONGRESSIONAL RECORD SENATE November 13, 2017

I wanted to say to Attorney General Judiciary Committee who recognized even he said he wouldnt stand for Sen-
Sessions: Listen, I understand that you the value of the blue-slip courtesy, but ators abusing the blue slip to delay or
are recused from the Russia investiga- only 2 out of these 18 chairmen re- block nominees. Chairman LEAHY said
tion, but do you think that means you quired both Senators to return positive the blue-slip courtesy was meant to
are not allowed to watch the news or blue slips before scheduling a hearing. ensure that the home state Senators
read a newspaper? My God, what is The practice of sending out blue slips who know the needs of the courts in
going on here? to home State Senators started 100 their state best are consulted and have
It is clear that Attorney General Ses- years ago, in 1917. Chairman Charles the opportunity to make sure that the
sions has an ongoing difficulty remem- Culberson started the blue-slip practice nominees are qualified and should not
bering his own interactions with Rus- to solicit the opinions of home State be abused simply to delay [the Com-
sians and the extent to which he knew Senators, but he did not require the re- mittees] ability to make progress fill-
about Russian contacts with other turn of two positive blue slips before ing vacancies.
members of the Trump campaign. As the committee would proceed on a Chairman LEAHY also said:
the record demonstrates, Attorney nominee. In fact, in the blue slips very I assume no one will abuse the blue-slip
General Sessions has misrepresented first year, Chairman Culberson held a process like some have abused the use of the
the truth about those contacts to hearing and a vote for a nominee who filibuster to block judicial nominees on the
Members of this body time and time received a negative blue slip. His suc- floor of the Senate. As long as the blue-slip
again. The interference by a hostile cessors over the next nearly 40 years process is not being abused by home-state
Senators, then I will see no reason to change
power in our Nations elections rep- had the same policy. It was not until
that tradition.
resents an attack on democracy itself, 1956 that the blue-slip policy changed
and the inability of our Nations top under Chairman James Eastland, a As I have said all along, I will not
law enforcement official to speak with Democrat from the State of Mis- allow the blue slip to be abused. I will
a clear and consistent voice about what sissippi. Chairman Eastland began to not allow Senators to block nominees
he knows of the Russian operation is require both home State Senators to for political or ideological reasons.
disturbing. return positive blue slips before hold- This position is consistent with the
Tomorrow morning, the Attorney ing a hearing and a vote. historical role of the blue-slip cour-
General will appear before the House Chairman Eastland, as history tells tesy. It also matches my personal expe-
Judiciary Committee, where I am con- us, was well known for his segrega- rience with the blue slip.
fident he will once again face questions tionist views. Unfortunately, it is like- I am going to tell you about a per-
about this issue. It is my hope that this ly that he adopted a strict blue-slip sonal experience I had when I first
time Attorney General Sessions will policy to veto judicial nominees who came to the U.S. Senate. In my first
answer those questions honestly, but in favored school desegregation. This is year in the Senate, a vacancy arose on
light of his misrepresentations to what Villanova Law School Professor the Eighth Circuit. At the time, I
Members of this body, Attorney Gen- Tuan Samahon explained: When seg- served with a Republican, my senior
eral Sessions has an obligation to re- regationist Dixiecrat Senator John Senator from Iowa, Roger Jepsen, and
turn to the Senate and explain himself. Eastland chaired the Judiciary Com- we had a Republican President, Ronald
Getting to the bottom of Russias in- mittee, he endowed the blue slip with Reagan. Senator Jepsen and I thought
terference in the 2016 election is a mat- veto power to, among other things, the nominee should be a State judge
ter of national security, and Attorney keep Mississippis federal judicial from Des Moines so we recommended
General Sessions owes the American branch free of sympathizers with his name to the White Housenot like
people an explanation about what he Brown v. Board of Education. we do now in Iowa, submit two or three
knows. He needs to return to the Sen- After Chairman Eastland retired in names, four names sometimes, for the
ate Judiciary Committee to set the 1979, Senator Kennedy became chair- President to pick from. In 1981, the
record straight. man. He got rid of Senator Eastlands White House decided they would like to
The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tem- policy. He didnt want a single Senator consider another name for the vacancy.
pore. The Senator from Iowa. to be able to unilaterally veto a judi- The other individual, Judge Fagg, was
BLUE-SLIP COURTESY cial nominee. Senator Kennedys policy a State court judge in Iowa. The White
Mr. GRASSLEY. Madam President, was that an unreturned or negative House interviewed the judge who was
in the last several weeks, there has blue slip wouldnt prevent the com- supported by both Senator GRASSLEY
been a lot of discussion regarding the mittee from conducting a hearing on a and Senator Jepsen along with having
blue-slip courtesy that applies to judi- nominee. Then along comes Senator interviewed this other nominee.
cial nominations. I want to take a mo- Strom Thurmond, continuing this pol- President Reagan, ultimately, nomi-
ment to clarify a few things. My posi- icy when he became chairman. So did nated the other nominee for the va-
tion hasnt changed. Like I said in No- Senator Joe Biden. So did Senator cancy. He was not the person Senator
vember of last year, I intend to honor ORRIN HATCH. Each of those chairmen Jepsen and I recommended, but the
the blue-slip courtesy, but there have allowed hearings for nominees who had White House thought that he was bet-
always been exceptions. negative or unreturned blue slips. ter suited to the circuit court, and that
First, the blue slip has always been a In 1989, Chairman Biden sent a letter ended up being the correct decision.
Senatorial courtesy. It is premised on to the White House articulating his Judge Fagg served with great distinc-
the idea that home State Senators are blue-slip policy. This is what Chairman tion for more than two decades. Even
in a very good position to provide in- Biden wrote: The return of a negative though he was not our pick, Senator
sights into a nominee from their State blue slip will be a significant factor to Jepsen and I returned our blue slips on
for the Federal judiciary. It is meant be weighed by the committee in its the nominee. That was not unusual as
to encourage consultation between the evaluation of a judicial nominee, but it more deference has always been given
White House and home State Senators will not preclude consideration of that to the White House, particularly for
about judicial nominations. That is nominee unless the Administration has circuit court nominees, which is dif-
why I value the blue-slip tradition and not consulted with both home State ferent from district court nominees.
ask for the views of Senators on all Senators prior to submitting the nomi- When Judge Fagg was nominated to
nominees to courts from their respec- nation to the Senate. the Eighth Circuit, both Senators from
tive States. Obviously, chairmen from both par- Iowa were Republicans, and the blue
Throughout its history, the many ties saw the danger of allowing one or slip practice did not change when Sen-
chairmen of the Senate Judiciary Com- two Senators to veto a nominee for po- ator Harkin, a Democrat, was elected
mittee have applied this blue-slip cour- litical or ideological reasons. My pred- to the Senate, succeeding Senator Jep-
tesy differently. That is a chairmans ecessor, Chairman LEAHY, reinstated sen.
prerogative. The chairman has the au- Chairman Eastlands strict blue-slip Senator Harkin and I served together
thority to decide how to apply the policy. Some believe he did so in order for 30 years, and we did not have any
courtesy. Over the past 100 years, there to exert firmer control over the new problems with judicial nominees. Gen-
have been 18 chairmen of the Senate Bush administration nominees, but erally, when there was a Republican

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November 13, 2017 CONGRESSIONAL RECORD SENATE S7175
President, I sent a list of names to the under the Hudson River before the cur- Boozman Gardner Murray
Brown Graham Nelson
President, and when there was a Demo- rent tunnels have to be closed for re- Burr Grassley Paul
cratic President, Senator Harkin sent a pairs. Cantwell Harris Perdue
list of names to the White House. We The closing of either tunnel without Capito Hassan Peters
served together for those 30 years and Cardin Hatch Portman
a new tunnel in place would be dev- Carper Heinrich Reed
never had any problems with blue slips, astating because it would essentially Casey Heitkamp Risch
not once. shut down the Northeast Corridor, the Cassidy Heller Roberts
During the Clinton administration, a transit route from Boston to Wash- Cochran Hirono Rounds
Collins Inhofe Rubio
vacancy arose on the Eighth Circuit. ington that produces over $3 trillion in Coons Isakson Sasse
The White House nominated Bonnie economic output, a full 20 percent of Corker Johnson Schatz
Campbell for the court. Ms. Campbell the national gross domestic product. Cornyn Kaine Scott
was originally from New York and had Cortez Masto Kennedy Shaheen
The importance of this project cannot Cotton King Shelby
previously worked for two Democratic be overstated. Crapo Klobuchar Stabenow
Senators. For 6 years, she served as Unfortunately, despite repeated cam- Cruz Lankford Strange
chairwoman of the Iowa Democratic paign promises to focus on infrastruc- Daines Leahy Sullivan
Donnelly Lee Tester
Party. Ms. Campbell was elected as ture investment, President Trump has Duckworth Manchin Thune
Iowas attorney general after having proposed severe cuts to infrastructure Durbin Markey Tillis
defeated the Republican candidate. She programs, including the Capital Invest- Enzi McCain Toomey
also ran for Governor against Gov. Ernst McCaskill Van Hollen
ment Grant Program. That cut is sig- Feinstein McConnell Warner
Terry Branstad. After she lost that nificant because it was the likely Fischer Moran Whitehouse
election, she was appointed by Presi- source of funding for the Gateway Flake Murkowski Wicker
dent Clinton to a position within the groject. In addition to proposing to cut Franken Murphy Young
Department of Justice. the funding needed for the Gateway NAYS7
It happens that I liked Ms. Campbell Project, the Department of Transpor- Gillibrand Schumer Wyden
very much. She was not the type of tation has been unresponsive to a num- Merkley Udall
nominee I would have picked for the Sanders Warren
ber of important interim actions that
court, but that did not stop me from are necessary to advance this critical NOT VOTING3
returning my blue slip. project. Booker Hoeven Menendez
Ms. Campbell was a controversial Given the lack of focus on infrastruc- The nomination was confirmed.
nominee. During the campaign for Gov- ture investment by the current admin- The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Sen-
ernor, she was quoted discussing Chris- istration and the continued roadblocks ator from South Dakota.
tian conservatives. She said: I hate to the administration has erected in front Mr. THUNE. Mr. President, I ask
call them Christian because I am of the Gateway Project, I must oppose unanimous consent that with respect
Christian, and I hate to call them reli- the nomination of Mr. Derek Kan to be to the Kan nomination, the motion to
gious, because theyre not, so Ill call Under Secretary of Transportation. reconsider be considered made and laid
them the radical right. Mr. GRASSLEY. I suggest the ab- upon the table and the President be im-
Ms. Campbell had a very liberal sence of a quorum. mediately notified of the Senates ac-
record and had spent most of her career The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tem- tion.
as a politician, and a lot of people did pore. The clerk will call the roll. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there
not want me to return her blue slip. So The legislative clerk proceeded to objection?
why did I return her blue slip? In the call the roll. Without objection, it is so ordered.
process, I was criticized extensively by Mr. ALEXANDER. Madam President, CLOTURE MOTION
the conservative base of my State of I ask unanimous consent that the order The PRESIDING OFFICER. Pursuant
Iowa. for the quorum call be rescinded. to rule XXII, the Chair lays before the
I did that because the blue slip is not Senate the pending cloture motion,
The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tem-
supposed to allow the unilateral veto of which the clerk will state.
pore. Without objection, it is so or-
a nominee. A Senator cannot use a blue The senior assistant legislative clerk
dered. read as follows:
slip to block a nominee simply because
The question is, Will the Senate ad-
he or she does not like the nominees CLOTURE MOTION
vise and consent to the Kan nomina-
politics or ideology. A Senator cannot We, the undersigned Senators, in accord-
tion? ance with the provisions of rule XXII of the
use a blue slip to block a nominee be-
Mr. ALEXANDER. I ask for the yeas Standing Rules of the Senate, do hereby
cause it is not the person the Senator
and nays. move to bring to a close debate on the nomi-
would have picked. nation of Steven Gill Bradbury, of Virginia,
The President gets to nominate The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tem-
pore. Is there a sufficient second? to be General Counsel for the Department of
judges. The White House should con- Transportation.
sult home State Senators, and it is im- There appears to be a sufficient sec-
Mitch McConnell, John Hoeven, Thom
portant that they do so in a meaning- ond. Tillis, Tom Cotton, Cory Gardner,
ful way. The White House may disagree The clerk will call the roll. Jerry Moran, John Barrasso, Luther
with Senators and may determine that The legislative clerk called the roll. Strange, Mike Crapo, John Cornyn,
a different individual is more suited to Mr. CORNYN. The following Senator Richard Burr, Mike Rounds, Orrin G.
is necessarily absent: the Senator from Hatch, David Perdue, Marco Rubio,
serve on the circuit court, but so long John Thune, John Boozman.
as there is consultation, the President North Dakota (Mr. HOEVEN).
Further, if present and voting, the The PRESIDING OFFICER. By unan-
generally gets to make that call. So I
Senator from North Dakota (Mr. imous consent, the mandatory quorum
will not let Senators abuse the blue
HOEVEN) would have voted yea. call has been waived.
slip to block qualified nominees for po- The question is, Is it the sense of the
litical or ideological reasons. Mr. DURBIN. I announce that the
Senator from New Jersey (Mr. BOOKER) Senate that debate on the nomination
I yield the floor. of Steven Gill Bradbury, of Virginia, to
Mr. SCHUMER. Madam President, I and the Senator from New Jersey (Mr.
MENENDEZ) are necessarily absent. be General Counsel of the Department
rise today to highlight the importance of Transportation, shall be brought to
of the Gateway Project and express my The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr.
MORAN). Are there any other Senators a close?
continued frustration with the admin- The yeas and nays are mandatory
istrations approach to infrastructure in the Chamber desiring to vote?
under the rule.
and this critical project. The current The result was announcedyeas 90, The clerk will call the roll.
Hudson River tunnels were built in 1908 nays 7, as follows: The senior assistant legislative clerk
and are rapidly deteriorating, a prob- [Rollcall Vote No. 270 Ex.] called the roll.
lem that was made far worse by Hurri- YEAS90 Mr. CORNYN. The following Senator
cane Sandy. Time is running out, and Alexander Barrasso Blumenthal is necessarily absent: the Senator from
we must quickly build new tunnels Baldwin Bennet Blunt North Dakota (Mr. HOEVEN).

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