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Pence Breaks Tie To Confirm Judicial Nominee Rated "Not Qualified"

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After sitting silently during a testy public exchange between President Donald Trump and Democratic leaders, Vice President Mike Pence made history later on Tuesday by casting a tie-breaking vote to confirm a judicial nominee in the Senate.

Pence cast the deciding vote after Senators split 50-50 on the nomination of South Dakota lawyer Jonathan Kobes to be a judge on the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The vote was tied after Republican Senator Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., joined with all of the members of the Democratic caucus in voting against confirming Kobes.

Flake has vowed to oppose all of Trump's judicial nominees until the Senate votes on legislation protecting special counsel Robert Mueller.

According to the Cardozo Law Review, Pence is now the first Vice President to cast a tie-breaking vote on the nomination of a federal judge.

The vote by Pence and most Republican Senators to confirm Kobes comes even though the attorney was given a "not qualified" rating by the American Bar Association in September.

"Mr. Kobes is a very accomplished, competent, and capable person, but his career path has not resulted in sufficient evidence of a developed ability to do the written work of a United States Circuit Court Judge." Paul Moxley, chair of the ABA Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary, wrote in a letter to the leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

However, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, accused the ABA of politicizing the nomination and argued the absence of written work does not mean Kobes is not qualified.

A report from the Huffington Post said Kobes is the sixth Trump judicial nominee to earn a "not qualified" rating from the ABA and the fourth to be confirmed by the Senate.

(Photo: Mark Holloway)

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