Senate backs appeals court judge from Calif. as Dems protest

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate has confirmed a Los Angeles lawyer as a federal appeals court judge, despite opposition from California's two Democratic senators.

The Senate voted, 52-45, Wednesday to confirm Kenneth Lee's nomination to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris opposed Lee, saying he failed to provide dozens of controversial writings on voting rights, race and sexual harassment.

Lee's approval continues a new trend by the GOP-controlled Senate to ignore a longtime custom on judicial nominees. The tradition allows home-state lawmakers to weigh in on a possible nominee, with opposition generally meaning the nomination does not move forward.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called Lee well-qualified. Lee worked in the George W. Bush White House and attended law school with Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton.

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