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Grassley Moves on Judicial Nominee Over Baldwin’s Objections

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a confirmation hearing Wednesday for an appeals court nominee from Wisconsin over the objections of Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin, a move that could portend a weakened influence of senators over federal judicial picks from their states.

By scheduling the hearing, Chairman Charles E. Grassley of Iowa sided with the Trump administration and the executive branch instead of his Senate colleague when it comes to the sway a senator has in recommending who should sit on the federal bench.

Baldwin has refused to give her consent to move Michael Brennan, President Donald Trump’s pick for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, through the confirmation process. She withheld her “blue slip,” part of a tradition that asks a home-state senator to sign off on a blue piece of paper before the committee moves forward with a confirmation hearing.

Grassley announced in November that he would schedule confirmation hearings for appeals court nominees even when a home-state senator objects and doesn’t return a blue slip — as long as the White House consulted with home-state senators.