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Senate confirms appeals court nominee Kavanaugh

WASHINGTON (BP)–The U.S. Senate confirmed appeals court nominee Brett Kavanaugh May 26, placing one of President Bush’s embattled judicial nominees on the federal courts.

Kavanaugh was confirmed by a vote of 57-36, with four Democrats joining 53 Republicans in supporting him. Voting against him were 35 Democrats and one independent.

Kavanaugh, who was nominated in 2003, will sit on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, considered the nation’s most prestigious circuit court and often seen as a stepping stone to the U.S. Supreme Court. Democrats had opposed Kavanaugh on the basis of his potential participation in highly criticized White House policies and programs. He is a former White House aide.

“Today the Senate fulfilled its constitutional duty of advice and consent by giving Brett Kavanaugh the fair up-or-down vote he has waited three years to receive,” Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R.-Tenn., said in a statement. “Mr. Kavanaugh is an eminently qualified nominee of considerable experience and distinction. He will make an excellent appellate judge.”

Frist said Bush’s nominees have the “highest confirmation rate of any president since Ronald Reagan.” Forty-five of Bush’s circuit court nominees have been confirmed, Frist added.

“As majority leader, I am committed to confirming additional judicial nominees to the bench who will practice judicial restraint and interpret the law strictly and impartially,” he said.

In a statement, Bush called Kavanaugh a “superbly qualified” candidate who will be a “brilliant, thoughtful and fair-minded judge.”

Kavanaugh, 41, has served as the president’s staff secretary since 2003 after being an associate White House counsel for two years. He also worked with independent counsel Kenneth Starr during the investigation that led to the impeachment of President Clinton. Earlier, Kavanaugh served as a law clerk for Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Four Democrats who voted for Kavanaugh were Robert Byrd (W.Va.), Thomas Carper (Del.), Ben Nelson (Neb.) and Mary Landrieu (La.).

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