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Thursday, July 29, 2010

 3:07 PM 

Butler confirmation vote delayed again

Senate Republicans today objected to a floor debate and vote on the confirmation of
former state Supreme Court Justice Louis J. Butler Jr. to be the federal judge for the western district of Wisconsin, delaying further action on the nomination for now.

Butler last year was nominated by President Barack Obama to serve on the federal bench in Madison and was subsequently confirmed by the Senate Judiciary Committee. But ongoing GOP objections to dozens of Obama judicial nominees had prevented Democrats from attempting to bring Butler to the floor for a vote of the Senate until now.

Republicans on Thursday objected to the Democrats’ attempts to bring up for a debate and vote nearly 20 of Obama’s judicial nominees, including Butler. According to one Republican Senate aide, there is a concern among some GOP Senators that Butler is soft on crime.

The U.S. Senate operates on a basis of unanimous consent, meaning that no action can be taken if any one senator objects. To overcome an objection requires a cloture vote and the support of at least 60 Senators. It remains unclear when Democrats might move to a cloture vote so that the backlog of judicial nominees might be confirmed.

The Senate is scheduled to adjourn for the August recess next Friday, and several items are taking precedence, including the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice nominee Elena Kagan, passage of an energy bill and approval of a small business bill.


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