Jessica M. Karmasek Dec. 16, 2013, 4:30pm

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) -- The U.S. Senate is expected to vote on the confirmation of Robert Leon Wilkins to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit before the end of the week.

The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times reported Friday that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., wants to hold the vote before the Senate leaves for its holiday break.

Last month, Senate Republicans blocked Wilkins' nomination to the D.C. Circuit, considered by some to be the second most important in the country after the U.S. Supreme Court.

GOP senators also blocked fellow D.C. Circuit nominees Patricia Millett and Cornelia "Nina" Pillard. Last week, both were confirmed to the court by the Senate following a rules change.

Under the rules change, a simple majority of senators, or 51 votes, now ends debate on executive branch nominees and nominees to federal district and appeals courts.

Before the change, a 60-vote majority was needed for the approval of presidential nominees.

Wilkins, who was nominated along with Millett and Pillard in June, has served as a judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia since 2010.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at

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