Kayatta judicial nomination bound for Senate floor vote

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CAPE ELIZABETH — The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday endorsed the nomination of attorney William Kayatta to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit, according to a press release from U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine.

Kayatta, a civil litigation specialist at the Pierce Atwood law firm in Portland, was renominated last month by President Barack Obama to the Boston-based court that is one legal rung below the U.S. Supreme Court.

The endorsement by the committee sends Kayatta’s nomination to the full Senate for a confirmation vote. Kayatta’s original nomination stalled in the Senate last year because of floor maneuvers that block federal judicial nominations in the weeks before a presidential election.

Despite the urging of Maine Sen. Susan Collins and former Sen. Olympia Snowe, both Republicans, Kayatt’s nomination was not scheduled for a floor vote after the elections and before the Senate adjourned.

King on Thursday expressed his support for Kayatta.

“He is clearly a brilliant lawyer and an exceptionally well-qualified candidate. I urge the Majority and Minority Leaders to quickly bring his nomination to the floor for a confirmation vote by the entire Senate,” the senator said.

Kayatta would replace Judge Kermit Lipez, a South Portland resident who is taking senior judicial status.

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