Senate confirms district judge for NY

The Senate confirmed a district court judge for New York Thursday, as it continues to work through several of President Obama’s nominees this week.

The Senate voted 70-29 to confirm Elizabeth Wolford to be U.S. District Judge for the Western District of New York.

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After confirming Wolford, the Senate voted 58-40 to end debate on Landya McCafferty to serve as U.S. district judge for the District of New Hampshire. Her confirmation vote is expected after up to two hours of debate.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) said McCafferty would be the first female judge to sit on the federal bench in New Hampshire and that she was “well-qualified noncontroversial.”

The Senate will continue to vote on various nominees Thursday. Republicans are refusing the yield back any debate time out of frustration that Democrats unilaterally changed the Senate filibuster rules last month, allowing several of Obama’s nominees that were previously blocked to get up-or-down votes this week.

Republicans spoke on the floor Wednesday night and Thursday morning for more than 15 hours.

The rule change means only 51 votes are needed to end a filibuster on nominations below the level of the Supreme Court. Previously, 60 votes were needed.

Republicans have accused the administration and Senate Democrats of trying to “pack the court,” saying the recent rule change will change the U.S. judiciary system forever by turning into a partisan fight.

The Senate is expected to spend the rest of the week on executive and judicial nominees. Reid has filed cloture on several nominees, and if Republicans continue to use all the debate time, the votes could bleed into the weekend.