Merkley slams right-wing court packing as Republicans shred blue slip tradition

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley released the following statement after Senate Republicans voted to advance the nomination of Eric Miller to serve as a judge for the Ninth Circuit, despite the objections of both of Miller’s home state senators:

“Today, the far right wing has continued their court packing campaign and, in the process, shredded a century-old tradition that helps ensure an independent and non-partisan judiciary. This vote puts partisanship and ideology over the health of our democracy. It’s a dark day for America – and this is a decision that Republicans will deeply regret once the shoe is on the other foot.

“The Washington senators refused to approve this nomination for very good reason. Mr. Miller’s extreme views rejecting tribal sovereignty perpetuate some of the worst aspects of American history. He has no business on the federal bench.”

The blue slip process translates the Senate’s constitutional responsibility of “advice and consent” on judicial nominees into practice by ensuring that the president consults with home-state senators on lifetime appointments, that nominees are within the mainstream of legal thought, and that they are well-regarded members of the legal communities in the states where they will serve. Both of Miller’s home-state senators, Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, had withheld their blue slips over concerns about his nomination.