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In brief: Obama’s D.C. court pick approved

Washington – After five years of trying, President Barack Obama has placed his first nominee on a key appeals court in Washington.

The Senate voted unanimously on Thursday, 97-0, to confirm Sri Srinivasan to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The court is considered the most important in the country after the Supreme Court.

Srinivasan is currently the principal deputy in the Office of the Solicitor General. He has worked in both Democratic and Republican administrations and served as a law clerk to former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

In recent years, the District of Columbia Circuit has been the subject of regular political skirmishes over appointments. There are now three vacancies on the court, including the seat vacated by John Roberts who left in September 2005 to become chief justice of the Supreme Court.

No damage noted from California quake

Greenville, Calif. – A magnitude 5.7 earthquake hit Northern California Thursday night that was felt nearly 150 miles away, but there were no early reports of damage.

The temblor struck at 8:47 p.m. and was centered near Greenville, about 25 miles southwest of Susanville in far northeastern California, said Rafael Abreu, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Earthquake Center in Golden, Colo.

Abreu said there were no reports of damage in the early field reports.

KCRA-TV in Sacramento reported that the Plumas County temblor was felt in downtown Sacramento, about 145 miles south of the epicenter.

Medicaid support brings threat

Phoenix – A Republican member of the Arizona House who supports GOP Gov. Jan Brewer’s push to expand Medicaid received an obscene and threatening voicemail at her office, a sign that the rancorous debate over embracing a signature component of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul in the state is far from over.

A visibly shaken state Rep. Kate Brophy McGee of Phoenix urged fellow members Thursday to tell their constituents to be civil. “Let’s tone down the rhetoric, let’s focus on the issue, and let’s disagree without making someone like me frightened to come to work,” Brophy McGee said on the House floor.

Arizona is among nine states where Republican governors have accepted the Medicaid expansion offered under Obama’s health care law. Of those, six have been able to get a deal with their legislatures or are on track to do so.


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Romney must compete in primary for Senate seat

UPDATED: 7:26 p.m.

updated  Mitt Romney was forced Saturday into a Republican primary for a U.S. Senate seat in Utah as he looks to restart his political career by replacing long-serving Sen. Orrin Hatch.