Update (4:58 p.m.): By a vote of 94 to 3, the Senate confirmed Judge Gerard Lynch for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit.
The Senate this afternoon is heading toward confirming Judge Gerard Lynch to a vacancy on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, making him the first of Obama’s circuit nominees to win approval.
A vote on Lynch’s nomination is expected some time after 2:30 p.m., a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said. The vote could be pushed past 5 p.m. because of a series of votes on unrelated matters.
Lynch, 58, is all but assured of confirmation. He has been a federal judge in the Southern District of New York since 2000. His diverse background also includes time as a professor, a counsel at Covington & Burling, a federal prosecutor, and an associate independent counsel during the Iran/Contra investigation.
Lynch (Columbia, Columbia Law) would fill the vacancy created in 2008 when Judge Chester Straub took senior status. Lynch wrote in his Senate questionnaire that he didn’t even ask to be considered, finding out about the impending nomination only when he got a call from Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).
There would still be three vacancies on the New York-based 2nd Circuit if the Senate confirms Lynch. One was created this summer after the elevation of Justice Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. The circuit also includes Connecticut and Vermont.
Three other appellate court nominations are pending in the full Senate: those of Judge Andre Davis for the 4th Circuit, Judge David Hamilton for the 7th Circuit, and Judge Beverly Martin for the 11th Circuit. Republicans have threatened to block Hamilton’s nomination because of district court rulings related to abortion and to prayer in the Indiana legislature.