Milwaukee lawyer Michael Brennan confirmed for U.S. Court of Appeals, ending long vacancy amid bitter partisan dispute:
Milwaukee lawyer Michael Brennan was confirmed for a key federal judgeship Thursday, filling the oldest appellate vacancy in the country but deepening a partisan schism in the U.S. Senate over judges...
...He was confirmed 49-46 with only Republican votes, over the objections of Democrat Tammy Baldwin, Wisconsin's junior senator.
That has typically been enough to sink a nomination in recent years, because senators from both parties have enjoyed an effective veto over the selection of federal judges from their home states, a tradition known as the "blue slip."
Baldwin's GOP colleague from Wisconsin, Ron Johnson, used his blue slip power to block one of Democratic President Barack Obama's nominees for the same 7th Circuit seat that his party filled Thursday.
But with Republican Donald Trump now in the White House, GOP senators are effectively ending the veto power of home-state senators for nominations to the influential appellate courts, the second-highest rung of the federal judiciary.
Urging her colleagues this week to reject Brennan's nomination, Baldwin warned on the Senate floor that his confirmation will "send the message neither this nor future presidents needs to respect the role of home-state senators in the selection of judicial nominees."
Blue slips are garbage and any idiot could have seen that the Republicans would ditch them at the first convenient moment. The fact that Democrats honored them during Obama's administration (allowing this exact seat to go unfilled during all that time) is the real political malpractice.