Republicans have argued that the California judge is worthy of sitting on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, which many consider one of the most important courts in the nation, but Democratic senators had blocked her confirmation, calling her a conservative activist who makes decisions based on her political beliefs rather than the law.
Last month, senators struck a deal whereby seven Republicans agreed not to back Republican leader from Tennessee Bill Frist’s effort to lift the filibuster for judicial nominees if the opposing Democrats allowed votes on several controversial nominees.
It would have taken 60 votes to end a filibuster, a total Republican supporters of Brown have not been able to muster.
On May 25, Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owen got Senate approval to sit on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.
The deal extended to Brown and William Pryor, who was nominated to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. A vote on Pryor’s confirmation is expected on Thursday.
Democrats have charged that the GOP-controlled Senate has spent too much time on President Bush’s judicial selections and not enough on other legislative priorities.
“We’ve spent endless hours, endless days, too many weeks debating radical judges and Republican attempts to abuse power,” said Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada, reported the Associated Press.
But Brown’s supporters said her confirmation to the D.C. circuit was long overdue.
“She does possess outstanding qualifications to have first earned the nomination from our distinguished president and secondly, to have earned the support of this body in the advise and consent role,” said Sen. John Warner, R-Va., one of the senators involved in the filibuster deal, quoted the AP.
Brown becomes the second black woman on the D.C. court, which decides government cases including separation of powers and the authority of federal agencies.