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Judges Nominated After Long Delay

Californians Richard A. Paez and Marsha Berzon Thursday won Senate confirmation to seats on the federal bench, ending years of contention that deeply divided the Senate.

Berzon, a San Francisco judge distrusted by conservatives because of her work with labor groups, was confirmed in a 64-34 vote. Moments later Paez, a judge on the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, was approved to his long-sought seat in a 59-39 vote.

President Clinton nominated both as judges for the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, which covers a vast area of California and the West. Blocked by conservatives who said they were too liberal and activist, Paez has been waiting four years, and Berzon two, for a Senate confirmation vote.

Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota asked why "we would put anybody through the misery and the extraordinary anguish that these two nominees have had to face now for years."

But Daschle also praised Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., who voted against both nominees but lived up to a promise he made last fall to end the boycott and give both nominees a yes-or-no vote.

A final effort to postpone action on the Paez nomination was defeated 67-31.

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