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Judiciary Clears Three of Obama’s Nominees

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a trio of President Barack Obama’s nominees Thursday, two weeks after the panel postponed consideration in response to Republican requests. The panel easily cleared the nomination of Thomas Perez, tapped for an assistant attorney general position, on a 17-2 vote. A pair of federal court nominees were also approved: David Hamilton, nominated to fill a vacancy in the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, on a 12-7 vote; and Andre Davis, nominated to the 4th Circuit, on a 16-3 vote. Republicans had successfully stalled Hamilton’s nomination, first by requesting a second hearing and then by pushing the committee vote, originally scheduled for May 21, until after the Memorial Day recess. In a statement, Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) criticized his GOP colleagues and congratulated the nominee, a District judge in southern Indiana. “Judge Hamilton is a well-respected federal judge not known for partisanship or an ideological agenda,— Leahy said. “In light of his superb record, broad support and unanimous well qualified’ rating from the American Bar Association, it is no wonder Judge Hamilton’s nomination for this important appellate seat has the support of— Indiana Sens. Dick Lugar (R) and Evan Bayh (D). Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), the panel’s ranking member, had criticized Hamilton for “a number of troubling rulings,— including one against denominational prayer in the state Legislature and allowing religious displays in public.Next week, the Judiciary Committee will take up the nominations of Judge Gerard Lynch to fill a vacancy on the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and Mary Smith to be assistant attorney general for the Tax Division at the Department of Justice.

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