Senate confirms Barrett replacement on federal appeals court

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FILE – In this Sept. 9, 2020, file photo U.S. Attorney Thomas Kirsch for the Northern District of Indiana listens during a news conference at the Dirksen Federal Building in Chicago. The Senate has confirmed Kirsch to replace Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett on a federal appeals court based in Chicago. Kirsch, who currently serves as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Indiana, will replace Barrett as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. (Pat Nabong/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate has confirmed an Indiana prosecutor to replace Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett on a federal appeals court based in Chicago.

Thomas Kirsch, who currently serves as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Indiana, will replace Barrett as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit. Kirsch was confirmed Tuesday on a 51-44 vote.

Three Democrats — Arizona Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly and West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin — voted for him in what was otherwise a party-line vote. Four Republican senators and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris did not vote.

President Donald Trump named Kirsch as Barrett’s replacement before she was confirmed to the high court in October, and the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced his nomination last week. Kirsch graduated from Indiana University and earned his law degree from Harvard.

Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, who is expected to become the top Democrat on Judiciary in the next Congress, said Kirsch’s quick nomination and confirmation showed that Trump and Senate Republicans were intent on forcing through as many conservative judges as possible.

“They have kept the nominations assembly line going,” Durbin said.

Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., said Kirsch “is a man of character, he’s a man of integrity, and he believes in the rule of law.”

Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, said Kirsch’s nomination is “further entrenching the lack of diversity that is characteristic of President Trump’s judicial nominees,” noting that the appeals court he will join is the only all-white federal appeals court in the country.

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