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Obama court nominee David Hamilton clears Senate hurdle

A Republican effort to stall an Obama appeals court nominee failed Tuesday. A full Senate vote on Judge David Hamilton is set for Wednesday.

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In the first major showdown over the future direction of the federal judiciary, Democratic leaders in the Senate scored a victory on Tuesday by defeating a Republican attempt to stall indefinitely President Obama’s nominee to the federal appeals court in Chicago.

The Senate voted 70 to 29 to end debate over the nomination of US District Judge David Hamilton of Indiana to a seat on the Seventh US Circuit Court of Appeals.

The vote opens the way to Judge Hamilton’s expected easy confirmation via a simple majority vote set to take place on Wednesday.

Leading the opposition was Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, who said he had no problem with Hamilton’s character, intelligence, or ability as a jurist. Instead, the Republican said, he opposed the nomination because Hamilton appeared to embrace a “results-oriented, activist philosophy.”

He said some of Hamilton’s rulings suggest “a political agenda that is guided by personal beliefs and not the rule of law.”

Speaking on Hamilton’s behalf, Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh lamented “this sad state of our judicial nominating process.”

“I know first hand [Hamilton] is a highly capable lawyer who understands the limited role of the federal judiciary,” Senator Bayh said.

Obama's first pick to the federal bench


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