Young Black Lawyers’ Organizing Coalition (YBLOC) Requests Meeting to Urge Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Richard J. Durbin To Abolish the “Blue Slip” Practice

Aim is to ensure the confirmation of pro-civil rights judges to the federal bench in the South

DALLAS, Sept. 12, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Today, the Young Black Lawyers’ Organizing Coalition (YBLOC), a national network of young Black lawyers and law students, has requested to meet with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Richard J. Durbin to urge him to abolish the “blue slip” practice to ensure the swift confirmation of pro-civil rights judges to the federal bench in the South.

In the letter to Senator Durbin, who has the unilateral power to disallow this archaic practice, Abdul Dosunmu, Founder and Chief Strategist, YBLOC, states:

“Our nation is in the midst of a civil rights crisis, as the equity gains so valiantly fought for by generations of Black freedom fighters have come under severe attack from reactionary forces.

“Our federal courts, particularly in the South, where so many of these shameful recent attacks against civil rights have been waged, urgently need a realignment in favor of civil rights. Right now, there is a historic opportunity to ensure that realignment, and we cannot let the blue slip stand in the way,” Dosunmu said.

A relic of the Jim Crow era, the blue slip was used by southern senators in the 1950s and 1960s to block judicial nominees who would support school desegregation and other pro-civil rights legal changes. It has historically denied Black communities the opportunity to increase pro-civil rights representation on the federal courts.

The federal courts across the South, which has the highest share of the nation’s Black population, currently have 24 federal district court vacancies, including eight in Texas, where YBLOC is based. In the last three years, President Biden and Chairman Durbin have made historic progress toward confirming pro-civil rights judges to the federal bench, but that progress has largely not reached the South due to the Senate’s blue slip practice.

YBLOC recently launched its “Our Courts, Our Futures”  campaign to highlight the significant role of the federal courts in protecting and advancing civil rights, raise awareness of the large number of high-stakes judicial vacancies in the South currently being obstructed by the blue slip, and mobilize grassroots voices in favor of abolishing the blue slip to pave the way for pro-civil rights judges in the South.

Read Full Letter Here.

Taryn Brown

SOURCE Young Black Lawyers’ Organizing Coalition