Judge Sharon Gleason Confirmed by Senate

Alaska will soon get its first female judge appointed to the federal bench in state history.

Judge Sharon Gleason was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Tuesday on a vote of 87 to 8.

She’ll take the job as U.S. District Court Judge that was left open when Judge John Sedwick accepted the role of senior judge on the District Court.

Alaska’s Senators both praised Gleason in speeches right before the vote. Senator Lisa Murkowski cited the praise of fellow judges, and commended Gleason for her strong work ethic and fairness.
“Sharon Gleason last stood for retention last year for retention last year in 2010 and she scored high on measures of legal ability, impartiality, integrity, temperament and diligence,” Murkowski said.

Murowski encouraged her Senate colleagues to vote for Gleason’s confirmation, but eight of her fellow Republicans voted no.  The dissent came from conservatives, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina.  The same conservative block also voted against the other judge up for confirmation Tuesday who won confirmation anyway to be a U.S. district judge in California.  Some Republicans are trying to hold up President Obama’s picks for seats on court benches.

Another Alaskan is waiting for her name to go before the Senate – Judge Morgan Christen, who has been nominated for a seat on the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.  She can’t take the job though until the Senate confirms her.

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