Senate approves privacy oversight nominee

The Senate voted 57-41 Thursday to confirm Patricia Wald to serve on the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board.

The Senate is halfway through a list of 10 executive branch and judicial nominees that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) filed cloture on earlier this week. 

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Republicans have refused to yield back any debate time out of frustration that Democrats unilaterally changed the Senate filibuster rules last month, allowing several of President Obama’s nominees that were previously blocked to get up-or-down votes this week.

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.

The Senate has been in session debating nominations since 2 p.m. on Wednesday and is expected to have to work through the weekend if Republicans don’t allow shorter debate times. Republicans have used the debate time to criticize the rule change and ObamaCare.

After confirming Wald’s nomination, the Senate voted 57-40 to end debate on the nomination of Brian Morris to be a U.S. district judge for the District of Montana. His confirmation vote is expected after up to two hours of debate.

Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) praised Morris as one of the “greatest legal minds” Montana has produced. 

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