The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday took the next-to-last step needed to confirm Clark Waddoups as Utah's newest federal judge.
It endorsed his nomination on a voice vote. His nomination now goes to the full Senate for action.
Waddoups' nomination had been delayed when it became entangled in a committee fight over issuing subpoenas for Justice Department records.
Democrats had blocked votes on judges while Republicans blocked a vote on issuing subpoenas sought by Democrats to the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel to investigate such things as its advice to the military about use of torture. The committee authorized such subpoenas Thursday on a party-line 10-9 vote.
Waddoups was nominated by President Bush last May, and his confirmation hearing was held earlier this month. He is the senior partner in the Utah law firm of Parr, Waddoups, Brown, Gee & Loveless.
He is nominated to fill a vacancy created last year when former District Judge Paul Cassell decided to return to the University of Utah to teach.
Waddoups faced only a few easy, friendly questions at his confirmation hearing. For example, when asked if he would treat all with respect and fairness in his court, he said, "That is a principle to which I am formally committed. And I assure you that is what I would attempt to do to the best of my ability."Disclosure forms show he was paid $564,600 last year as one of Utah's premier lawyers. If confirmed, his salary could be cut by two-thirds. The pay for federal judges is $169,200.