There is not a single Republican Senator on board with the movement to replace the leadership, but this letter along with Steve Bannon's threat to primary Senate incumbents is what McConnell fears the most.
McConnell told the Weekly Standard that Republicans will treat blue slips "as simply notification of how you're going to vote, not as an opportunity to blackball". "He has also said on many occasions that the full Senate should dedicate more time to considering nominees that have already been reported out of the Judiciary Committee". That, in turn, makes it easier for Trump to advance nominees in states that do not have any Democratic Senate representation.
"The Senate has fewer and fewer mechanisms that create bipartisanship and bring people to an agreement".
I can not read Foy's quoted statement, however, without thinking that the use of the blue slip to block the the Stras nomination represents a "case" of "abuse" by Minnesota's own Al Franken.
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The blue-slip practice requires consent from home state senators before the Senate Judiciary Committee proceeds with a federal judicial nomination.
He added that "we hope that Chairman Grassley, who has always believed in the traditions of the Senate, will resist Senator McConnell's request". Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), abided by the blue-slip tradition during his six years leading the panel under former President Barack Obama. According to a report in Politico, the conservative Judicial Crisis Network is planning to spend a quarter-million dollars on ads pushing McConnell to clear more of Trump's nominees.
But with Republicans struggling to make good on their key agenda items - they have, so far, failed to repeal ObamaCare and there are early signs of trouble on tax reform - the courts offer perhaps the best path to the GOP and Trump securing a long-term legacy. According to the official site for United States Courts, there are now 149 vacancies. Ryan Bounds, on the other hand, has been blocked by both OR senators, who claim that Trump didn't consult with them on the choice. The judiciary committee is run by Senator Grassley, and it's up to him to decide who gets a hearing. "Jim DeMint, R-S.C., to President Ronald Reagan's attorney general Edwin Meese, is urging Mr. McConnell to stop allowing the chamber to bolt for the weekend on Thursday afternoons and to concentrate on confirming nominees at the end of every week". And Grassley has argued that the Senate should stay in session longer - including skipping the current week-long break - to get more work done.
In a statement, Taylor Foy, a spokesman for Grassley, said the senator has a tradition of using blue slips and "expects senators and the president to continue engaging in consultation when selecting judicial nominees".