Dianne Feinstein

Trump Poised to Set Record for Appeals Court Judges
Three more nominees set to be confirmed this week

Appellate nominee Steve Grasz, who is set to be confirmed by the Senate this week, was , nominee to be U.S. circuit judge for the Eighth Circuit, testifies during a Senate Judiciary Committee nomination hearing in Dirksen Building on November 1, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Republicans are set to confirm three more of President Donald Trump’s appeals court picks this week, a push that will help set a record for the most such appointments in a president’s first year in office.

The Senate is expected to confirm Steve Grasz for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, and James Ho and Don Willett for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, over the objections of Democrats who question whether they can be unbiased.

Democratic Senators Pressure House Counterparts on Tax Overhaul
29 GOP House members represent states with no Republican senator

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic senators from Maryland, New York, California and New Jersey are pressuring their Republican counterparts in the House to reject the GOP tax bill if it comes back up for a vote in the chamber.

The group, in a letter sent Monday, highlighted provisions in both the House and Senate versions of the tax bill that would allow individuals to deduct up to $10,000 in property taxes but would otherwise repeal the popular state and local tax deduction.

Grassley Prepares to Bypass Franken to Move Trump Appeals Court Nominee
Rejects policy of allowing blue slip to be used as a veto

Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, is announcing his interpretation of the “blue slip” policy. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley is ready to move forward with President Donald Trump’s appellate judicial nominees, even when home-state senators have formal objections.

Grassley is going to move ahead with confirmation hearings for Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Stras to be a judge on the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Politico reported ahead of a formal announcement by the chairman.

Trump on Course for Least Diverse Judicial Picks Since Reagan
President’s nominees have been overwhelmingly white and male

Greg Katsas was nominated by President Donald Trump for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. He is seen here during his confirmation hearing last month. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump’s picks for federal judgeships reflect a strikingly different direction when it comes to diversity on the bench — it is the most white and male group of nominees in recent history.

So far, 91 percent of Trump’s 58 judicial nominees for district and appeals courts are white, a pace that would make his appointees the least diverse since the Reagan administration, according to statistics compiled by the liberal advocacy group Alliance for Justice. Only 19 percent of his picks are women, a pace that would make his appointees the most male since the George H.W. Bush administration.

Opinion: Republicans Reversed Course on ‘Blue Slips’ for Judicial Nominees
Practice ensures that nominees chosen by presidents of both parties are mainstream

Democratic Sen. Al Franken, left, opposes the nomination of Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Stras to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and has declined to return a blue slip. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Republicans have done a head-spinning 180 on the value of the “blue slip,” a 100-year-old tool that gives home state senators the ability to sign off on judicial nominees in their states. This practice ensures that the White House consults senators on lifetime appointments and that nominees are mainstream and well-suited to serve in their states.

Just three years ago, Sen. Orrin Hatchwrote about the value of the blue slip and his commitment to upholding it during his tenure as chairman of the Judiciary Committee. He said that “weakening or eliminating the blue slip process would sweep aside the last remaining check on the president’s judicial appointment power.”

Mandatory by January: Sexual Harassment Training for Senators and Staff
House lawmakers have introduced similar legislation

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., sponsored a resolution that requires senators and their staffs to complete sexual harassment training by early January. Here, staffers line up at a committee hearing. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senators and their staffs have until early January to complete sexual harassment training, made mandatory by a resolution the Senate adopted unanimously Thursday.

The resolution comes after recent scrutiny of how Congress handles sexual harassment in its offices. Nearly 1,500 former staffers have signed a letter to congressional leadership released Thursday saying the processes are “inadequate and need reform.”

Senate Resolution Would Mandate Training to Combat Sexual Harassment
Grassley and Feinstein among leaders of bipartisan effort

Sens. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., are taking lead roles in the Senate’s efforts to update policies on sexual harassment. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A bipartisan group of senators is moving to require employees of the Senate to be trained on addressing and avoiding sexual harassment in the workplace.

The effort, led by Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley, takes the form of a Senate resolution that would require everyone from interns to lawmakers to complete training through the Office of Compliance or the Office of the Senate Chief Counsel for Employment within 60 days of starting work in the chamber.

What to Watch as 2018 Primaries Inch Closer
It’s never too early: first contests take place in March

Spread out over the first nine months of the year, primaries will set the stage for the 2018 midterm elections in November. These contests will be the first test of each party’s ability to field strong candidates in key pickup opportunities and fend off intraparty challenges. 

The first elections will take place in March. Here’s what to watch for as the primaries pick up. And click here for Roll Call's comprehensive guide to every 2018 election from start to finish.

Trump’s Stamp on Judiciary Starting: It Could Be Much Faster
With no filibuster and a GOP Senate, he’s got a big opening to reshape appeals courts

The four appellate nominees moving through the Senate this week include, from left, Amy Coney Barrett, Joan Larsen, Allison H. Eid and Stephanos Bibas. Barrett and Larsen have already been confirmed. (Courtesy Screenshot/C-SPAN, Joan Larsen/Facebook, University of Pennsylvania Law School)

While White House officials are subsumed by the fresh intensity of the special counsel investigation, and House Republicans are preoccupied with propping up the tax overhaul, their GOP colleagues in the Senate are focusing on something not nearly as provocative as either of those things — but perhaps almost as consequential over the long haul.

This week, they’re pushing to double, from four to eight, the number of reliable conservatives that President Donald Trump has installed on the federal appeals courts during the opening year of his administration.

Tech Companies Get an Earful From Intelligence Committee
Senators accuse executives of just not getting extent of Russian meddling

Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard M. Burr, R-N.C., left, and ranking member Mark Warner, D-Va., have challenged technology companies for their response to Russian interference in the 2016 election. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Big technology companies faced a second day of public lashing on Capitol Hill, with the Senate Intelligence Committee accusing companies of a lackluster response to Russian meddling in the 2016 election. 

On Tuesday, executives from Facebook, Google and Twitter told the Senate Judiciary Crime and Terrorism Subcommittee that ads and automated non-advertising content generated by Moscow-backed companies reached hundreds of millions of Americans during the 2016 election — a number that is far higher than previous estimates offered by the companies.