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Senate Confirms Southwick To Fifth Circuit

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.

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