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After 5 years, Senate OK’s key judicial appointment

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

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

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Srinivasan is 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.

President Obama praised the Senate’s approval of Srinivasan, whom he called a ‘‘trailblazer who personifies the best of America.’’ But he also poked Republicans for what he said was the slow approval of his judicial nominations.

‘‘While I applaud the Senate’s action, it’s important to remember that this confirmation is the first one to this important court in seven years,’’ Obama said.

The District of Columbia Circuit has been the subject of regular political skirmishes over appointments.

There are now three openings on the court, including the seat vacated by John Roberts, who left in September 2005 to become chief justice of the Supreme Court.

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