Philip Wegmann / /

As President Barack Obama’s time in office nears its end, the Senate Judiciary Committee has advanced another one of his judicial nominees toward a lifetime post. She may not get to the finish line, though.

While the Senate has entered that part of the political calendar when confirmations traditionally halt, the Judiciary Committee on Thursday voted 13-7 to advance the nomination of U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh for the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The cadence of judicial nominations customarily follows what’s known as the Thurmond-Leahy rule. The rule, a longstanding gentleman’s agreement among senators, prohibits confirmations of new judgeships in the months before a presidential election.

Even though Koh has advanced out of committee, it’s not clear the Californian will receive a confirmation vote on the Senate floor. Republicans could be sending the nomination out of committee halfheartedly, in an effort to appease the left while running out the clock before the Nov. 8 elections.

As President Barack Obama’s time in office nears its end, the Senate Judiciary Committee has advanced another one of his judicial nominees toward a lifetime post. She may not get to the finish line, though.

While the Senate has entered that part of the political calendar when confirmations traditionally halt, the Judiciary Committee on Thursday voted 13-7 to advance the nomination of U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh for the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The cadence of judicial nominations customarily follows what’s known as the Thurmond-Leahy rule. The rule, a longstanding gentleman’s agreement among senators, prohibits confirmations of new judgeships in the months before a presidential election.

Even though Koh has advanced out of committee, it’s not clear the Californian will receive a confirmation vote on the Senate floor. Republicans could be sending the nomination out of committee halfheartedly, in an effort to appease the left while running out the clock before the Nov. 8 elections.

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Still, Democrats seem intent on getting Koh confirmed regardless of the Thurmond rule.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has shepherded Koh’s nomination from the beginning. Before Thursday’s vote, the California senator heralded the judge as “a nominee with very strong, impeccable credentials, and a distinguished track record.”

But when a Republican was last in the White House, Democrats demanded observation of the Thurmond rule. Insisting the rule was apolitical, they pushed to apply it before both the 2004 and 2008 presidential elections.

“Not reflecting on any single judicial nominee or that person’s qualifications,” Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said in October of 2004, “it has been a practice and tradition in the Senate that in a presidential election year, we suspend the approval of federal judges after the nominating convention of a major party.”

This year’s Republican National Convention ended July 21.

Every Democrat on the Judiciary Committee voted to advance Koh’s nomination. Three Republicans joined them: Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and Jeff Flake of Arizona.

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