Group attacks Franken for objecting to judicial nominee

Group attacks Franken for objecting to judicial nominee
© Greg Nash

A conservative group working to get President Trump’s judicial nominees confirmed is going after Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenKirsten Gillibrand officially announces White House run Gillibrand says staffer allegations did not 'rise to the level of sexual harassment' Female Gillibrand aide resigned over handling of her sexual harassment complaint: report MORE over the Minnesota Democrat's refusal to endorse Trump’s pick for the St. Louis-based 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Judicial Crisis Network announced Wednesday that it is launching a two-week TV ad campaign calling out Franken for his refusal to return a blue slip for Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Stras.

Franken reportedly said last week that he has “grown concerned that if confirmed to the federal bench, Justice Stras would be a deeply conservative jurist in the mold of Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia, justices who the nominee himself has identified as role models.”

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Under the “blue-slip” process, the home-state senators of a judicial nominee can object to the nomination by refusing to return the blue-colored paper of support to the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

The TV ad, which will air in Minneapolis during Sunday political shows and on CNN and MSNBC, tells viewers that Stras is more popular than Franken.

The ad compares Stras’s 2012 election to Minnesota Supreme Court to Franken’s race for reelection to the Senate in 2014, and notes Stras received 80,000 more votes.

“Maybe that's why Franken is blocking Stras's nomination to the US Court of Appeals,” the ad continues. “After all, Stras has support from across the political spectrum, even a top rating from the American Bar Association. So, is Al Franken jealous of someone more popular? Someone with bipartisan support?”

Viewers are then told to tell Franken to “stop being petty," “grow up” and “confirm Justice David Stas.”

A digital ad will also run for two weeks statewide in Minnesota.

“Justice David Stras earned more votes and a higher percentage of the vote statewide than Senator Al Franken did,” Carrie Severino, Judicial Crisis Network's chief counsel and policy director, said in a statement.

“Franken is trying to block the Judiciary Committee from even reviewing Justice Stras’s sterling record and his refusal to return the blue slip for Justice Stras is unacceptable. By not returning his blue slip, Senator Franken is choosing Washington politics over the people of Minnesota.”

The group spent $10 million in an ad campaign to get Justice Neil Gorsuch confirmed to the Supreme Court and launched a $500,000 digital ad campaign in August urging voters to contact their senators about changing the upper chamber’s rules to speed up nominations.

Franken is not the only Democratic senator not to return a blue slip for a judicial nominee. Oregon Sens. Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyBusiness groups urge Congress to combat LGBTQ discrimination in workplace Overnight Energy: EPA moves to raise ethanol levels in gasoline | Dems look to counter White House climate council | Zinke cleared of allegations tied to special election Will Washington finally do something about high drug prices? MORE and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenKlobuchar: ObamaCare a 'missed opportunity' to address drug costs Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — FDA issues proposal to limit sales of flavored e-cigs | Trump health chief gets grilling | Divisions emerge over House drug pricing bills | Dems launch investigation into short-term health plans Hillicon Valley: Doctors press tech to crack down on anti-vax content | Facebook, Instagram suffer widespread outages | Spotify hits Apple with antitrust complaint | FCC rejects calls to delay 5G auction MORE have announced plans to block Ryan Bounds, Trump’s nominee for the San Francisco-based 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.