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A former aide to Jesse Helms and a former Interior Department lawyer blocked by Democrats last year will be the subjects of the first judgeship battles of President Bush’s second term. The Senate Judiciary Committee plans to begin confirmation hearings for Terrence W. Boyle and William Gerry Myers III on March 1, a Republican committee official told The Associated Press. The hearings were set one day after Bush renominated Boyle, Myers and 10 other appellate court nominees who were not confirmed by the Senate during his first term. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the official announcement had not been made yet. Democrats blocked Myers and nine other appeals court nominees through filibuster threats during the first Bush term. Boyle, like several other first-term judicial nominees, never got a hearing in front of the GOP-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee. Democrats confirmed 204 of the president’s other nominees. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., called on Democrats to allow the Senate to hold confirmation votes on the renominated candidates. “Vote them up or vote them down, however you feel you should, but you should have the opportunity to vote,” Frist said Tuesday. But Democrats have promised to filibuster the Bush nominees again if they feel that they are too conservative. “Unless there’s something that is new that I’m not aware of with each of these men and women, we will vote the same way we did in the past,” Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid said Tuesday. “They both will have a tough row to hoe, but Myers will have the toughest because we’ve already voted against him,” said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. With a Senate comprised of 55 Republicans, 44 Democrats and a Democrat-leaning independent, Democrats still have the 40 votes necessary to uphold a filibuster. “Either of these nominees would provide an early test for our colleagues across the aisle: Will they be tempered by the results of the last two elections or will they continue to obstruct the president’s most well-qualified judicial nominees?” said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. Republicans said Myers and Boyle are well qualified and should be confirmed to lifetime posts on the U.S. Courts of Appeals, the nation’s second highest courts. Myers is nominated for the 9th Circuit and Boyle for the 4th Circuit. Democrats blocked Myers, a former top lawyer for the Interior Department who is now in private practice in Boise, Idaho, after accusing him of having an anti-environment agenda. In a nod to the Democrats who have complained about the lack of cooperation from Republicans, Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., is requiring a second Judiciary hearing for Myers, who has been approved by the committee once. GOP senators are hoping that Myers can get some Democratic support, with Democratic Sens. Joseph Biden of Delaware and Ben Nelson of Nebraska having voted last July to break the filibuster on his nomination. Boyle, a former aide to retired U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., been mired in the judicial nomination wars for years. Democrats killed his appellate court nomination under President George H.W. Bush in 1991, which led Helms to block all of President Clinton’s judicial nominations from North Carolina while in office. In retaliation, former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., refused to let the Judiciary Committee consider Boyle’s nomination after taking over Helms’ seat in the Senate. Edwards, who was the Democratic candidate for vice president in 2004, left the Senate this year. He has been replaced by a Republican, Richard Burr. Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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