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Senate confirms first Bush judges

By Dana Bash
CNN Capitol Hill Producer

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Senate has overwhelmingly approved the first three of President Bush's judicial nominees, including Roger Gregory, the first black judge to serve on the 4th Circuit.

Gregory was originally appointed by President Clinton in June of last year but was not given a confirmation hearing by the Republican-controlled Senate. Clinton gave Gregory a temporary recess appointment to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in December.

Gregory then became one of Bush's first nominees, and the now Democratic-controlled Senate made Gregory the first judge to get a confirmation hearing. The senate Friday approved Gregory by a vote of 93-1.


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It also confirmed two U.S. District Court judges from Montana -- Richard Cebull and Sam Haddon.

The one vote against Gregory came from Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott (R-Mississippi), who did not oppose him because of his abilities or positions, but because he has been on the bench without senate approval.

"This was an institutional decision based on a statement Senator Lott made last year that any approval of federal judges during the recess should be opposed," said Lott's spokesman Ron Bonjean.

The 4th Circuit covers Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia and Maryland -- more minorities live in that region than in any other federal circuit jurisdiction.


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