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The BBC's Paul Reynolds in Washington
"Mr Bush's list is another example of what has become a strategy"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 9 May, 2001, 21:29 GMT 22:29 UK
Bush nominates federal judges
President Bush with nominees
Democrat senators are expected to oppose some nominations
President George W Bush has nominated his first 11 candidates for federal judgeships, setting up a political battle between Republicans and Democrats in the Senate.

The list - like Mr Bush's Cabinet - includes a number of ethnic minorities and women, but is generally conservative overall.

Mr Bush asked the Senate - evenly split between Republicans and Democrats - to "rise above the bitterness of the past" and rapidly confirm the nominations.

Bush nominees
Three women

Two blacks, both earlier nominated by Clinton

One Latino

Three nominated earlier by the president's father

Seven sitting judges

"I ask for the return of civility and dignity to the confirmation process," he added.

Historically the US judicial confirmation process has been marked by controversy and heated debate.

The list includes a partner in the law firm that represented Mr Bush in his post-election Supreme Court battle for the White House.

Mr Bush originally intended to nominate 15 judges in Wednesday's announcement, but withdrew four due to objections from Democrats.

The nominees - who are to serve as federal appeals court judges, the highest courts below the Supreme Court - include three women, two blacks, and a Latino.

Divisive issues

The judges are likely to have to rule on some of the most divisive issues in American political life: affirmative action, abortion, environmental regulation and school vouchers.

US Supreme Court
The appeals circuit is the highest level below the Supreme Court

In an apparent effort to win Democratic support, Mr Bush renominated two men who were nominated by former President Bill Clinton. One of them had been blocked by Senate Republicans.

Another nominee, Miguel Estrada, works at the same Washington law firm as Ted Olson, who represented Mr Bush in the Supreme Court last year.

Mr Estrada came to the US from Honduras as a teenager and went on to graduate near the top of his class at Harvard.

The nominees also include three men nominated by President Bush's father but never confirmed.

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See also:

24 Jan 01 | Americas
Mixed fate for Bush nominees
19 Jan 01 | Americas
Bush nominees grilled by Senate
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