U.S. Senate panel deadlocks in vote to advance 6th Circuit judicial nominee

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Rachel Bloomekatz, a public interest lawyer nominated to the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, is sworn in to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., U.S., June 22, 2022. REUTERS/Sarah Silbiger

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  • U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee failed to move 6th Circuit nominee Rachel Bloomekatz to full Senate vote
  • Committee advanced the nominations of Doris Pryor for the 7th Circuit and Ana Reyes as D.C. federal judge

(Reuters) - A U.S. Senate panel on Thursday deadlocked on President Joe Biden's nomination of attorney Rachel Bloomekatz to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, while advancing several other judicial nominations to the full Senate.

The Senate Judiciary Committee deadlocked 10-10 along party lines on whether to advance Bloomekatz, an Ohio public interest lawyer, meaning she will face an additional procedural hurdle as the Senate must vote to discharge her nomination from the committee before any final vote.

During her nomination hearing on June 22, Senate Republicans questioned Bloomekatz about her work on behalf of Everytown Law, the legal arm of Everytown for Gun Safety, defending gun safety ordinances and challenging an Ohio school district's decision to allow teachers to be armed.

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Bloomekatz told the committee during her hearing she would follow the U.S. Supreme Court's "very clear" precedents supporting gun rights.

Bloomekatz launched public interest law firm Bloomekatz Law in 2019 after working at Washington, D.C.-based Gupta Wessler. Her firm did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the vote Thursday.

The panel on Thursday also voted 13-9 to move U.S. Magistrate Judge Doris Pryor's nomination to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals forward. She would become the first Black person from Indiana to serve on the Chicago-based appeals court.

The panel also advanced the nomination of Ana Reyes for U.S. District Judge in Washington, D.C. Reyes, a Williams & Connolly litigator who immigrated to the United States as a child, would become the first Hispanic woman and openly LGBTQ person to serve as a district court judge in D.C.

The panel advanced the nominations of Maria del Antongiorgi-Jordan, Gina Mendez-Miro and Camille Velez-Rive, each to be a U.S. District Judge for the District of Puerto Rico.

Senate Democrats are racing to confirm as many judicial nominees as they can before the November midterm elections while they retain their narrow 50-50 control of the chamber.

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