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MEMORANDUM November 17, 2017

To: Honorable Dianne Feinstein


Attention: Alexandria Deitz
From: Barry J. McMillion, Analyst in American National Government, bmcmillion@crs.loc.gov,
7-6025
Subject: Number of U.S. Circuit and District Court Nominees Confirmed by the Senate After
Having Received One or Two Negative Blue Slips (1956-2017)

This memorandum responds to your request for information and statistics related to the number and
percentage of U.S. circuit and district court nominees who, while having at least one negative blue slip
from home state Senators, were confirmed by the Senate during the period from January 1, 1956 to
November 15, 2017.
Specifically, as we discussed, this memorandum:
1. Provides the number and percentage of known U.S. circuit and district court nominees
who, while having one negative blue slip from a home state Senator, were confirmed
during the period from January 1, 1956 through November 15, 2017; and
2. Provides the number and percentage of known U.S. circuit and district court nominees
who, while having two negative blue slips from his or her home state Senators, were
confirmed during the period from January 1, 1956 through November 15, 2017.
Because data regarding whether home state Senators returned negative or positive blue slips (or withheld
a blue slip) is not often made public, the information provided in this memorandum is limited to that
information which is publicly available regarding blue slips returned or withheld by Senators.
Consequently, the number of nominees falling into the categories below may be greater than reported here
because information regarding the status of a nominee’s blue slips is not always publicly available. 1
Information in this memorandum is of general interest to Congress. As such, all or part of it may be
provided in other CRS products. Your confidentiality as a requester will be preserved in any case.
One Negative Blue Slip
Based on available information, CRS has identified three known nominees (one U.S. circuit court
nominee and two U.S. district court nominees)—from January 1, 1956 through November 15, 2017—who
were confirmed by the Senate while having a negative blue slip from one, but not both, of his or her home
state Senators.
1
The numbers presented here include only those nominees for whom a home state Senator did not later withdraw his or her
opposition.
Congressional Research Service 2

These 3 known nominees represent fewer than 1% of the approximate 2,525 individuals confirmed to
U.S. circuit and district court judgeships during this period (similarly, during this period, the one known
circuit court nominee represents fewer than 1% of the approximately 516 individuals confirmed to circuit
court judgeships and the two known district court nominees represent fewer than 1% of the approximately
2,009 individuals confirmed to district court judgeships).2
For additional information about the various blue slip policies in place during this period, see CRS Report
R44975, The Blue Slip Process for U.S. Circuit and District Court Nominations: Frequently Asked
Questions.
Two Negative Blue Slips
Based on available information, CRS has not identified any known instances from January 1, 1956
through November 15, 2017 of a U.S. circuit or district court nominee who was confirmed by the Senate
while having negative blue slips from both of his or her home state Senators.
Similarly, CRS had not identified, based on available information, any known instances since 1956 in
which a nominee was confirmed while having one negative blue slip and had one blue slip withheld—or
had both blue slips withheld by a nominee’s home state Senators.
I trust the information provided in this memorandum meets your needs. Please do not hesitate to contact
me with any questions or if you require additional information.

2
During this period, the three known nominees who were confirmed by the Senate while having one negative blue slip from a
home state Senator are John Shabaz (confirmed in 1981), John L. Coffey (1982), and Vaughn R. Walker (1989).