Senate panel advances voting rights advocate's confirmation for appeals court seat

Senate panel advances voting rights advocate's confirmation for appeals court seat
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A Senate committee voted on Thursday to advance the nomination of a voting rights advocate to sit on an influential appeals court over the objections of Republicans.

Republicans tried to torpedo a Senate Judiciary Committee vote with criticisms against Myrna Pérez, a voting rights advocate with the Brennan Center for Justice who President BidenJoe BidenMacro grid will keep the lights on Pelosi suggests filibuster supporters 'dishonor' MLK's legacy on voting rights Sanders calls out Manchin, Sinema ahead of filibuster showdown MORE nominated to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

GOP members on the panel expressed concerns about her views on voting rights and her past criticisms of the Trump administration, though the panel ultimately advanced her nomination in a narrow 12-10 vote.

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Pérez has led the Brennan Center's litigation against voting restrictions being pushed in states across the country and has spoken out about the disparate impact that they can have on people of color and their access to ballots.

Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeSchumer ramps up filibuster fight ahead of Jan. 6 anniversary Juan Williams: The GOP is an anti-America party Manchin faces pressure from Gillibrand, other colleagues on paid family leave MORE (R-Utah) took issue with her opposition to what he called "election security laws."

"The subtext is really clear," Lee said during Thursday's hearing. "If you support measures to secure our elections, you're a racist."

"Now, it's one thing to have a good faith disagreement over election reforms. It's one thing to have a good faith disagreement over the best set of policies that govern the manner in which we choose our elected officials, but it's quite another thing to accuse your opponents of being racist and evil," he added. "That's simply wrong. And it's certainly not the kind of disposition we want in people who will sit on the highest courts in our system."

Pérez's nomination will now head to a final floor vote. She is the latest in a string of high-profile judicial nominees who have faced Republican opposition, but so far the GOP has been unable to block any of Biden's court picks.