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Senate to vote on E. Wash. judge nomination

The U.S. Senate is expected to vote today on the nomination of First Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Rice to become a U.S. district judge for the Eastern District of Washington.

Rice has held his current position since 2006. He was approved unanimously for the judgeship by the Senate Judiciary Committee in October.

President Barack Obama nominated Rice for the position in June.

Rice, who has been a federal prosecutor since 1987, was recommended over Spokane attorney Les Weatherhead and Wenatchee attorney Stanley Bastian, who were nominated by U.S. Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell.

If confirmed, Rice would replace U.S. District Judge Robert Whaley, who took senior status in 2009.



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