NEW ORLEANS - The Senate confirmed Judge Leslie Southwick to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit by a 59-48 vote. Nine Democrats joined the unanimous 49 Republicans in approving the nominee.
Blacks and civil-rights advocates urged Democrats to block the conservative Mississippi judge, saying he was pro-business and hostile to gay and minority rights.
But President George W. Bush embraced the confirmation as a "victory for America's judicial system and for the citizens of Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas."
Democratic Sen. Diane Feinstein played a pivotal role in siding with the Republicans on the Judiciary Committee and voting to give Southwick an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor.