WASHINGTON (AP) – The Senate has elevated a federal trial court judge to fill the first appeals court vacancy in more than a year.
U.S. District Judge Amul Thapar of Kentucky has been confirmed for the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals by a 52-44 vote.
Thapar was the first judge nominated by President Donald Trump to a district or appeals court.
There are about 120 court vacancies now. Senate Republicans slowed confirmations toward the end of President Barack Obama’s term.
Liberal groups campaigned against the nomination of Thapar, who’s close to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kenutcky.
Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts contended Thapar was in the mold of Trump’s Supreme Court justice, conservative Neil Gorsuch, and would “tilt the scales of justice in favor of the rich and powerful.”