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Franken Aims to Block Trump Judge; Move Could Test Senate Tradition

Franken Aims to Block Trump Judge; Move Could Test Senate Tradition

Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) attends the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee hearing in the Capitol building on July 19, 2017, in Washington, DC. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 07 September 2017 11:33 AM

Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota said he will try to block President Donald Trump's nominee for the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals using a Senate tradition that allows home-state senators to veto judicial nominees.

In May, Trump nominated David Stras to serve on the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Under Senate tradition, home-state senators can withhold their "blue slips" to block a judicial nominee, according to The Washington Times.

Stras is serving as a Minnesota Supreme Court justice.

Franken said Tuesday that he was blocking the nomination due to concerns about his history as a conservative.

"I have grown concerned that, if confirmed to the federal bench, Justice Stras would be a deeply conservative jurist in the mold of Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia, justices who the nominee himself has identified as role models," Franken said in a statement Tuesday.

When Stras was nominated by the president, Franken called him a "committed public servant." However, at the same time, Franken expressed concern for the guidance Stras has received "from far-right Washington, D.C.-based special interest groups," The Hill noted.

"Justice Stras’s professional background and record strongly suggest that, if confirmed, he would embrace the legacy of his role models and reliably rule in favor of powerful corporate interests over working people… ," Franken said in his statement. "I fear that Justice Stras’s views and philosophy would lead him to reinforce those divisions and steer the already conservative Eighth Circuit even further to the right."

Franken's objection to Stras could test the Senate's blue-slip tradition, which some Republicans have considered eliminating or narrowing, according to The Hill. Mark Lucas, executive director of Concerned Veterans for America urged Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley to hold a hearing for Stras despite Franken's attempt to block it, The Hill reported.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) defended the tradition, saying in a statement that its purpose is "to ensure consultation between the White House and home-state senators."

She noted that the tradition stopped four of Obama's judicial nominees in 2016.

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Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota said he will try to block President Donald Trump's nominee for the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals using a Senate tradition that allows home-state senators to veto judicial nominees.
franken, blocks, trump, judge
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2017-33-07
Thursday, 07 September 2017 11:33 AM
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