A bipartisan agreement reached in December to advance five of President Barack Obama’s judicial nominees was fulfilled Thursday when the Senate voted unanimously, 93-0, to confirm Leonard Strand as a federal district judge in Iowa.
Seven senators didn’t cast vote, including five Republicans.
Strand’s confirmation is the last piece of a package deal brokered by Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, between Republican and Democrat leadership.
Grassley advanced three of the president’s liberal nominees in exchange for Democrat support of two Iowa judges. All five were scheduled to come before the Senate’s weeklong Presidents Day recess.
Grassley recommended Strand to the president in April. Since 2012, Strand has served as the U.S. magistrate judge for the Northern District of Iowa. He will return to that same district, only now as a U.S. district judge.
Strand was the last of five nominees to get a confirmation vote. Only one faced significant opposition. U.S. District Judge Wilhelmina Wright, who once accused the Reagan administration of bigotry and racism, won confirmation on a vote of 58-36 on Jan. 19.
It’s unclear whether the five nominees are the last to be confirmed during Obama’s final year in office. Traditionally, the Senate stops the confirmation of judges during the final six months of an outgoing president’s term.
But outside pressure has already been mounting on Senate Republicans to halt the process in protest of what they consider Obama’s executive overreach. Others respond that the process already is too slow already and has become overly political.
Below is the roll-call vote for Strand.