Harris to oppose any of Trump's appeals court nominees
© Greg Nash

Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisHarris slams DOJ decision not to charge police in Eric Garner's death Harris vows to 'put people over profit' in prescription drug plan The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - House to vote to condemn Trump tweet MORE (D-Calif.) said Thursday that she will oppose any of President TrumpDonald John TrumpEsper sidesteps question on whether he aligns more with Mattis or Trump Warren embraces Thiel label: 'Good' As tensions escalate, US must intensify pressure on Iran and the IAEA MORE's picks for the powerful appeals courts after the administration moved forward this week with nominees for the Ninth Circuit. 

"This Administration is packing the court that protected Dreamers from deportation and blocked the unconstitutional transgender military ban. We need nominees who will uphold equality and justice. Until a fair process is in place, I will oppose every nominee to an appellate court," Harris said in a tweet.  

Her decision comes after Trump revived a months-long feud by nominating three judicial picks to fill three of California's seats on the Ninth Circuit. 

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The San Francisco-based court has been a long-running sore spot for conservatives, who argue it is too large and too liberal. It's also acted as a foil to some of Trump's most controversial policies, including ruling against his travel ban and an effort to cut off federal funding for so-called "sanctuary cities."

The administration said Wednesday night that it would nominate Daniel Collins, Kenneth Lee and Daniel Bress to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. 

Harris, who is a 2020 presidential candidate and a member of the powerful Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinThe peculiar priorities of Adam Schiff Dem senators demand GOP judicial group discloses donors Senate Democrats skipping Pence's border trip MORE (D-Calif.), the Senate panel's top Democrat, said in a joint statement that they were "deeply disappointed." 

"We even identified candidates selected by the White House we could support to demonstrate our willingness to work cooperatively. Unfortunately, the White House is moving forward with three nominees to a circuit court who have no judicial experience. The White House’s decision to push these nominees fails to secure consensus on the circuit court," they said.

Democrats are unable to block Trump's court picks without help from Republicans after they nixed the 60-vote filibuster for most nominations in 2013. Republicans, in turn, got rid of the hurdle for Supreme Court picks in 2017. 

Republicans, under Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyThe peculiar priorities of Adam Schiff Advocates frustrated over pace of drug price reform Trump drug pricing setbacks put pressure on Congress MORE (R-Iowa), have also given nominations a vote even when a home-state senator refused to return a blue slip — a piece of paper that indicates whether or not they support a nominee. 

Newly minted Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamWhy Trump's bigoted tropes won't work in 2020 The Memo: Toxic 2020 is unavoidable conclusion from Trump tweets GOP put on the back foot by Trump's race storm MORE (R-S.C.) said earlier this week that he had not yet made a decision if he will require blue slips for appeals court judges. But he indicated in a statement on Thursday that he supports the Ninth Circuit picks. 

"These are highly qualified nominees and I am hopeful they will receive wide bipartisan support,” Graham said in a statement. 

But, in their joint statement, Feinstein and Harris urged Graham to follow a standard set by Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyDem senators demand GOP judicial group discloses donors Senate Democrats skipping Pence's border trip Democrats want investigation into cost, legality of Trump's July Fourth event MORE (D-Vt.), who required blue slips from home-state senators in order for a nomination to be taken up the by Judiciary Committee. 

“Chairman Graham has said he wants to protect senators’ role in the nominations process. Historically, the greatest protection for home-state senators has been the blue-slip tradition," they added.