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Senate Democrat Susan Collins to vote for procedural block to confirmation of Alabama nominee Brett Talley

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Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine will vote in favor of Democrats’ blocking a Republican judicial nominee for the first time Thursday, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said after the vote was announced.

“By confirming Brett Talley of Alabama this afternoon, Democrats for the first time ever have threatened to hold up a judicial nominee over a disagreement with this administration on one particular case,” Mr. McConnell said. “Today, they used the bully pulpit to goad others into supporting or opposing judicial nominees for the first time in the history of the United States Senate.”

Democrats helped block the Talley vote Thursday as part of a broader protest that will force the Senate to consider hundreds of judicial nominees for the first time since the 1970s, when the Senate was controlled by Republicans.

Senate Republicans aren’t expected to overcome the procedural hurdle until January, when Mr. McConnell will need the votes of every Democrat, as well as at least two Republicans, to pass legislation backed by President Trump.

But that hasn’t stopped the House and Senate from debating dozens of nominees who have been approved by the Judiciary Committee.

President Trump first appointed Talley, a member of the Alabama attorney general’s office, to a federal bench earlier this year. He joined a state court on Wednesday.

Talley’s nomination came as the Judiciary Committee unanimously approved 29 nominees and filed a range of legislation including: a rule requiring sexual harassment investigations to be released; a ban on unconstitutional suspensions of judgeships; and improved pay for clerks.

“Instead of adopting historic bipartisan bills to build on some of the bipartisan successes of the past two years, Senate Democrats would rather put partisan politics above the public interest and prolong the time it takes to confirm high court and circuit court nominees,” said Senator Grassley, the Judiciary Committee chair.

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