Demonstrators dressed in blue crowded into a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting on Wednesday to protest Chairman Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyLawmakers pay tribute to Colin Powell Senate GOP signals they'll help bail out Biden's Fed chair Fill the Eastern District of Virginia MORE's (R-Iowa) decision to ignore the so-called blue slip rule and move forward with a hearing for one of President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump goes after Cassidy after saying he wouldn't support him for president in 2024 Jan. 6 panel lays out criminal contempt case against Bannon Hillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Agencies sound alarm over ransomware targeting agriculture groups MORE's judicial nominees.
Grassley's decision to hold the hearing for Milwaukee lawyer Michael Brennan, who is up for a spot on the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, came despite Sen. Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinBuilding back better by investing in workers and communities The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate nears surprise deal on short-term debt ceiling hike Overnight Defense & National Security — Pentagon chiefs to Congress: Don't default MORE's (D-Wis.) refusal to return a blue slip.
The blue slip rule allows senators from a federal judicial nominee's home state to essentially veto a nominee. Traditionally, the Judiciary Committee has declined to hold hearings for judicial nominees without approval from the individual's home state senator.
Zoe Tillman, a reporter for BuzzFeed News, posted a photo of the protest on Twitter on Wednesday.
Hello from the Senate Judiciary Committee, where we'll be hearing from 7th Circuit nominee Michael Brennan (of Wisconsin). People are wearing blue shirts to protest the fact that Grassley is holding the hearing despite Sen. Tammy Baldwin not returning a blue slip pic.twitter.com/1gk3Lmb7D2— Zoe Tillman (@ZoeTillman) January 24, 2018
Grassley announced in November that he would ignore the blue slip rule to hold hearings for two other judicial nominees: David Stras, a nominee to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and Kyle Duncan, a nominee to the 5th Circuit.
Protesters dressed in blue T-shirts similarly showed up at a Judiciary Committee meeting in November to oppose Grassley's decision.
Grassley has said he will keep the blue slip policy in place, but will not let it be abused for partisan or ideological reasons.
The move to ignore Baldwin's blue slip drew the ire of Democratic lawmakers on the committee, including ranking member Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinSenate GOP signals they'll help bail out Biden's Fed chair Jane Fonda to push for end to offshore oil drilling in California Overnight Health Care — Presented by The National Council on Mental Wellbeing — Merck asks FDA to authorize five-day COVID-19 treatment MORE (Calif.) who argued in her opening remarks Wednesday that Grassley had upended a century of precedent by ignoring the blue slip.
She also suggested that Grassley's decision was insulting to Baldwin.
"I find it really very hard, and particularly for a woman senator who has tried so hard, who has worked with her state commission, for her view to be rebuffed in this manner," Feinstein said.