Senate advances third nominee to key appeals court

AP News
Posted: Jan 09, 2014 5:54 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate is advancing a key judicial nominee of President Barack Obama. The appointment would complete a sweeping overhaul of the nation's second most powerful court.

Senators voted 55-38 Thursday to move forward with the nomination of Robert Wilkins to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Wilkins is a federal judge in Washington and the third of Obama's nominees to the D.C. circuit to move forward in the past month.

The court hears appeals on White House actions and federal regulations. It currently has six judges appointed by Democratic presidents and four by Republican presidents.

The court had been evenly divided between Democratic and Republican appointees before Democrats changed filibuster procedures in November, allowing most nominations to move forward on simple majority votes.