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Checks on Trump’s Court Picks Fall Away - ABI

The Republican head of the Senate Judiciary Committee has curtailed one of the last legislative limits on a president’s power to shape the federal courts, giving Donald Trump more freedom than any U.S. president in modern times to install his judges of choice, legal experts said, the Wall Street Journal reported. Last week, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) reined in a tradition that empowered senators to block federal appeals-court nominees from their home state. His decision came about four years after Democrats, citing Republican filibusters of President Barack Obama’s circuit-court nominees, eliminated a Senate rule that required the majority party to mount 60 votes to advance a nominee to a confirmation vote. Together, the threat of a filibuster — or delaying tactic — and use of “blue slips” — so-named because senators indicate support or opposition to nominees on blue slips of paper — guarded against lifetime appointments for nominees deemed far outside the mainstream, court experts said. Others said the changes were part of a natural progression away from Senate traditions that allowed the minority party to stall nominations for partisan reasons.

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