GOP blocks key Obama court nominee in Senate vote

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Republicans have blocked another of President Barack Obama's picks for one of the nation's top courts.

Tuesday's near-party line vote derailed Obama's selection of Georgetown University law professor Cornelia Pillard to fill one of three vacancies on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. It was the latest skirmish in a long-running nominations battle that has intensified partisan tensions in the Senate.

The vote was 56-41 in favor of ending GOP procedural delays that have blocked Pillard from winning confirmation. But that was four votes short of the 60 votes Democrats needed.

The D.C. circuit court is considered one of the nation's most powerful because it rules on administration orders and regulations. Its eight current justices are divided evenly between Democratic and Republican nominees.

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