The U.S. Senate has approved former Alabama Attorney General William Pryor for a seat on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.
The 53 to 45 vote brings the Senate near the end of an unprecedented run of long-delayed judicial confirmations.
President Bush gave Pryor a recess appointment in February 2004 after Democrats filibustered his confirmation because he is pro-life.
"He has shown again and again that when the law conflicts with his personal and political beliefs, he follows the law as articulated by the Constitution," said Sen. Richard Shelby.
"More than anybody I know in the legal business today, he was committed to the rule of law," said Sen. Jeff Sessions, who worked with Pryor in the past, "to doing the right thing. That is his very nature."
The Senate has confirmed three of the president's most-wanted appellate nominees in less than three weeks as part of a deal struck by senators looking to avoid a partisan battle.
Pryor says he is "humbled by the prayers and broad support of so many Alabamians and other Americans who supported my nomination over the last two years." He said he especially appreciates the confidence placed in him by President Bush.
According to Pryor, there is no weightier responsibility for an American lawyer than to serve as a federal judge, supporting and defending the Constitution.
The Atlanta-based court handles federal appeals from Alabama, Georgia and Florida.
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