MN Senator Stonewalls Judicial Nominee

Al Franken, Franken, Senate, Judiciary

WASHINGTON D.C. — The path for Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Stras to receive his new appointment has a major roadblock – a Senator from his home state.

On Tuesday, MSNBC’s Hugh Hewitt tweeted, “I’m told [Sen.] Al Franken is only senator not 2 return a blue slip — on Justice Stras of MN SC. [Sen.] Chuck Grassley cannot allow that. #BurnTheBlueSlip.”

In a turn-of-the-century tradition, the blue slip is a piece of paper sent to a senator by the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, when the president has nominated an individual from the senator’s home state. The blue slip gives the senator a voice in choosing to support or object the nomination.

According to The Heritage Foundation, the home senator’s response on the blue slip can determine whether or not a nomination moves forward.

In a subsequent tweet, Hewitt called on Grassley to “Hold a press conference. Explain that it is Al Franken who is abusing the tradition and that it has to end. #ReidRules.”

Meanwhile, the confirmation of Justice David Stras, a sitting member of the Minnesota Supreme Court, remains stalled.

In May, Alpha News reported on the career promotion by President Donald Trump. Stras was nominated by the White House to serve as a Judge in the United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit, located in St. Louis, Missouri.

While Franken’s office has not returned calls from Alpha News, a statement from his office when Stras was first nominated sheds some light into the senator’s thought process.

While Franken was quick to praise Stras as a “committed public servant,” he offered this cautionary note: “I am concerned, however, by that fact that Judge Stras’ nomination is the product of a process that relied heavily on guidance from far-right Washington, DC-based special interest groups—rather than through a committee made up of a cross-section of Minnesota’s legal community.”

In July, the White House shared an “obstruction alert” with a Washington Times article attached. The article pointed to the nomination of Stras as a test for the administration and revealed that the White House spoke with the offices of Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Franken on multiple occasions prior to their nomination of Stras.

It  remains unclear what it will take for Franken to return the blue slip for the Stras appointment to go through, but Stras remains one of the seven U.S. Court Appeals nominees waiting for a hearing before the senate.


Preya Samsundar

Preya Samsundar was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN. She graduated from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities this Spring with a B.A. in Political Science and Sociology, with a minor in Strategic Communications. Preya has previously worked on several State Campaign Races.