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Biden hits 100 confirmed judges, but Democrats can do more. Here's how.

The president hit a judicial milestone. A silly Senate tradition is standing in the way of doing more.


President Joe Biden and Senate Democrats hit a significant judicial milestone Tuesday, confirming their 100th federal judge of the Biden era.

As NBC News reported, that means they’re outpacing the judicial appointments of former President Donald Trump, who had 85 judges confirmed at this point in his term.

Of course, Trump appointed three Supreme Court justices — Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett — to Biden’s one thus far, Ketanji Brown Jackson. But without term limits or adding seats to the court, there’s only so much Biden can do about Supreme Court vacancies. It's all the more reason to focus on the lower federal courts, as well.

Biden has made significant progress on that score, having nominated civil rights lawyers to both the trial-level district courts and the intermediate-level circuit appeals courts.

But his judicial milestone underscores a continuing issue standing in the way of confirming more judges: “blue slips.” The practice, which isn’t a formal rule, effectively gives home-state senators vetoes over a president’s nominees. The Senate previously used it for both circuit and district court nominees, but Republicans eliminated it for circuit court nominees during the Trump era.

So if Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin, D-Ill., wants to keep that progress going, he should end blue slips for district court nominees, as well.