I recently noted frustration with Democrat delay tactics for judicial nominations, including the withholding of “blue slips” to prevent confirmation proceedings to proceed, Trump judicial confirmations moving along, but not fast enough:

Every single vacant seat should be filled as quickly as possible. Some progress is not good enough. Grassley and McConnell need to clear all roadblocks, and Trump needs to fill the pipeline.

It looks like Grassley finally is getting the message, as Politico reports:

Grassley says he has scheduled hearings for David Stras, a nominee to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), Stras’ home-state senator, said earlier this year that he would not return the so-called blue slip for Stras because of his conservative ideology.

“The Democrats seriously regret that they abolished the filibuster, as I warned them they would,” Grassley said in his floor speech. “But they can’t expect to use the blue slip courtesy in its place. That’s not what the blue slip is meant for.”

The blue slip asks whether a senator approves or disapproves of a nominee.

Refusing to allow withholding of a blue slip to turn into the functional equivalent of a filibuster makes sense, since Democrats ripped up the judicial filibuster in 2013.

Republican Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) also withheld a blue slip on a nominee, but made clear he didn’t oppose hearings moving forward:

“Senator Kennedy expressed that, while he is undecided on Mr. Duncan’s nomination, he does not oppose a hearing for Mr. Duncan,” Grassley said Thursday. “This is the correct distinction a senator should make when deciding whether to return a blue slip. The blue slip is not meant to signify the senator’s ultimate support or opposition to the nominee. It only expresses the senator’s view about whether the nominee should get a hearing.”

Grassley’s move likely left Franken groping for some other way to delay the confirmation of conservative judicial nominees.