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President George W. Bush has withdrawn nine federal judicial nominees whose names were submitted in the final days of the Clinton administration. In all but one case, the president’s move in all likelihood kills the current chances that the nominees will sit on the federal bench. But the situation facing Judge Roger Gregory is different. In a controversial move, Clinton named Gregory to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last December, using the presidential power to make appointments while Congress is in recess. Gregory, who has since been sworn in, is the first African-American in history to sit on the Richmond, Va.-based court. If not confirmed by the Senate by the end of the year, Gregory will have to leave the court. But Bush is already being lobbied to renominate Gregory. In a letter to Bush released Monday, Republican Sens. John Warner and George Allen of Virginia reiterated their earlier support of Gregory’s nomination. “Judge Gregory has the professional and personal credentials, as well as the appropriate judicial temperament, to continue his service on the 4th Circuit,” Warner and Allen wrote. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, criticized Bush’s decision to withdraw the nominees. “I am disappointed that such qualified nominees, some of whom have been waiting four years for a hearing and a vote, have been withdrawn,” Leahy said. In addition to the judicial nominees, Bush on Monday withdrew about 50 executive branch nominations that Clinton had made in his final days in office. Bush press officials did not say whether the president would renominate Gregory or any other nominees. The other appeals court nominees withdrawn were: James Wynn Jr. (4th Circuit); Enrique Moreno (5th Circuit); Bonnie Campbell (8th Circuit); Helene White and Kathleen McCree Lewis (6th Circuit); and James Duffy Jr. and Barry Goode (9th Circuit). He also pulled back the nomination of Sarah Wilson, a recess appointee to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

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