Franken opposes Stras for 8th Circuit; will confirmation hearing be held?

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U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., has announced he will oppose the nomination of Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Stras to the St. Louis-based 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Franken said he believed that Stras, a former clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, would “steer the already conservative 8th Circuit further to the right.” Politico, the Star Tribune and the Pioneer Press have stories.

Stras was formerly on President Donald Trump’s shortlist of potential Supreme Court nominees.

According to Politico, Franken’s opposition could “set up a major fight within the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee.” The so-called blue-slip process traditionally allows home-state senators to block confirmation hearings for judicial nominees, though the rule “has been less adhered to for circuit court picks” in previous administrations, according to Politico.

Minnesota’s other senator, Democrat Amy Klobuchar, said she believed Stras deserved a hearing, though he wasn’t her choice for the 8th Circuit vacancy. Klobuchar said she studied Stras’ record and found that, “for the vast majority of the cases, he has respected precedent and sided with the majority, which has included both Democratic- and Republican-appointed judges.”

Klobuchar said blocking Stras could pave the way for nomination of a “less independent judge” from a neighboring state where there are two Republican senators.

Hat tip to How Appealing.

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