The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday sent the nomination of Omaha attorney Steve Grasz to a seat on the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to the full Senate for its consideration on an 11-9, party-line split vote.
Democratic members of the committee lined up in opposition to the nomination in the wake of the American Bar Association's judgment that Grasz was "not qualified" to serve on the federal bench.
Grasz, Nebraska's former chief deputy attorney general, was recommended to President Donald Trump by Sens. Deb Fischer and Ben Sasse and the president, in turn, submitted his nomination to the Senate.
Next stop is Senate action to confirm the nomination.
"Steve Grasz has extraordinary ethics, sterling credentials and bipartisan support from across the state of Nebraska," Fischer said in hailing the committee's action.
"Without a doubt, he is the right choice for this seat on the 8th Circuit.
"I hope Steve's nomination will swiftly move to the Senate floor for a final vote so he can put his skills to work for the American people," Fischer said.
Sasse, a member of the committee, took to the floor of the Senate to describe Grasz as "one of the foremost appellate attorneys in the state of Nebraska" and a man of "integrity, humility and decency."
"Steve has earned the support of Republicans and Democrats back in Nebraska," Sasse said, "and I hope that when his nomination comes to the floor of the Senate, we will take to heart all of the support that he has across the political spectrum and from well-respected lawyers across our state."