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Third D.C. Circuit nominee clears Senate panel hurdle

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Nov 1, 2013

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) -- Robert Leon Wilkins, President Barack Obama's third pick for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, made it out of a Senate committee Thursday.

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee voted 10-8 along party lines to approve Wilkins' nomination to the D.C. Circuit.

Wilkins, who has served as a judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia since 2010, reportedly sailed through his committee hearing in September.

His nomination now heads to the full Senate for a vote.

Fellow D.C. Circuit nominees Cornelia "Nina" Pillard and Patricia Millett are still waiting to be confirmed.

Like Wilkins, Pillard, who currently serves as a professor at the Georgetown University Law Center, and Millett, who heads Akin Gump Strauss Hauer and Feld LLP's Supreme Court practice and co-heads the firm's national appellate practice, were approved by the Senate panel along party lines.

All three were nominated by Obama in June.

On Thursday, the Senate failed to invoke cloture on Millett's nomination.

According to the roll call, federal lawmakers voted 55-38 to proceed with a vote on her nomination, shy of the necessary 60 votes.

Republicans continue to argue that the D.C. Circuit, considered by some to be the second most important court in the country after the U.S. Supreme Court, doesn't need more than its current eight judges.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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