UPDATED: 2019/02/28 3:00PM
Seattle attorney Eric Miller was confirmed as a judge on the United States’ most liberal appeals court this week, but he was confirmed without the consent of either of his home-senators. Before this week, a nominee for the 9th circuit court of appeals had never been confirmed without the support of at least one senator from their home-state. Historically, senators can submit their opinions via “blue slips” or they may choose not to return them. Neither Senator Patty Murray nor Senator Maria Cantwell, both Washington state Democrats, returned blue slips on Miller’s nomination to serve on the 9th circuit court of appeals.
Miller was confirmed on Tuesday, February 26th on a 53-46 vote. This allows Trump to move forward toward a more conservative federal judiciary. The vote to confirm Miller’s lifetime appointment followed a brief hearing, which took place during a congressional recess. Only two Republican senators were present.
This marks a break in traditions that some Democrats are calling “a dangerous first.” According to a statement made by Senator Murray, “Abandoning the blue slip process and instead, bending to the will of a president who has demonstrated time and time again his ignorance and disdain for the Constitution and the rule of law is a mistake.”
Cantwell called the proceedings, “a damaging precedent.”