While these leaders acknowledge the unprecedented delay tactics that Senate Democrats are using to slow-walk these nominations, they refuse to allow these to be an excuse for not delivering results.
One of McConnell's critics is the Judicial Crisis Network, which promotes the nomination of more conservatives.
A constellation of conservative activists who have long clashed with congressional Republican leaders issued a joint call Wednesday for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his top deputies to step down, marking the latest round of criticism the Kentucky Republican has received from members of his party.
McConnell also made clear that he meant to keep making floor time that he would prioritize confirming new federal judges over some other mid-level Trump nominees, given the long-term significance of getting new conservatives installed in jobs that will long outlast the Trump White House.
But McConnell, in a quote from the Weekly Standard interview provided by spokesman Don Stewart, said he wants to change that tradition: "My view is that in this majority the blue slip for circuit judges are simply a notification of how you're going to vote, not a blackball".
Senate Republicans are pushing to make it harder for home state senators to derail judicial nominations. Sen. "In 2015, Chairman Grassley wrote that 'over the years, Judiciary Committee chairs of both parties have upheld a blue-slip process, including [Leahy], my immediate predecessor, who steadfastly honored the tradition even as some in his own party called for its demise".
Though McConnell's job is not seen by Republican senators to be in any immediate jeopardy, the mounting attacks he is facing, which at times have come from Trump himself, have raised questions about his standing in the party.
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"The Senate has fewer and fewer mechanisms that create bipartisanship and bring people to an agreement".
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell talks to reporters at the U.S. Capitol on October 3.
"We are talking to many organizations, including Steve Bannon, about this", said Brent Bozell. But she added: "Getting rid of the "blue slip" - it was time to do that a few months ago".
Since Trump was inaugurated, judicial vacancies have grown from 106 to 149. That sparked backlash from Democrats, who said the move would be hypocritical, as Republicans staunchly defended the blue slip process while Obama was in office. The use of blue slips, he noted, is not a Senate rule and has "been honored in the breach over the years".
But with Republicans struggling to make good on their key agenda items - they have, so far, failed to repeal ObamaCare and there are early signs of trouble on tax reform - the courts offer perhaps the best path to the GOP and Trump securing a long-term legacy. Late last month, Trump expressed confidence in him.
And Democratic Sens. Ron Wyden (Ore.) and Jeff Merkley (Ore.) are pledging they will not return their slips for Ryan Bounds, Trump's 9th Circuit pick, or "any other nominee that has not been selected through our judicial process".
"Under Chairman Grassley's leadership, blue slips have been returned from home state senators on both sides of the aisle, including from seven Democrats for President Trump's circuit court nominees", said the statement. It is now holding up such nominees as AUSA Ryan Bounds of OR and state supreme court Justice David Stras of Minnesota. And Grassley has argued that the Senate should stay in session longer - including skipping the current week-long break - to get more work done.