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Bench Memos

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Correction Re: Senatorial Privilege vs. Quality Judges



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A reader has kindly called to my attention a factual error in my Weekly Standard essay, “Droit du Sénateur: Senatorial privilege vs. quality judges“. In the course of discussing how precedent supports a blue-slip policy that does not give nomination-killing power to a Senate minority, I wrote: “Since the beginning of the Nixon administration 37 years ago, there have been only two brief periods in which the president and the committee chairman were both Democrats: 1977 to 1981, with President Carter and Chairman Kennedy, and 1993 to 1994, with President Clinton and Chairman Biden (and when I was a Senate Judiciary Committee staffer).” In fact, Democratic Senator James Eastland, not Teddy Kennedy, was committee chairman for the first two years of Carter’s presidency.

The essential point remains unaffected: Chairman Specter should follow the Kennedy-Biden-Hatch precedent under which a negative blue slip from a minority-party senator, while accorded “substantial weight,” does not impede the committee from proceeding to a hearing and a vote on the nomination.



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