The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee has signed off on an Idaho Falls man’s nomination to a federal judgeship.

The panel approved the nomination of Ryan Nelson by a party-line vote Thursday, with all 11 Republicans in favor and all 10 Democrats against. Nelson, who has been a lawyer for Melaleuca since 2009 and before that held a variety of legal positions for Senate Republicans and the Bush administration, is on track to become a judge on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The committee signed off on the nomination of Nelson and a dozen other federal judges and U.S. attorneys during a contentious committee meeting Thursday, the beginning of which was dominated by the partisan battle over Brett Kavanaugh’s pending nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. After an hour of debate and several failed Democratic motions to subpoena additional witnesses and documents related to Kavanaugh’s work for Bush, the committee moved on to the rest of its agenda.

There was no debate on Nelson’s nomination at Thursday’s hearing. At his confirmation hearing in July, Republican senators praised his legal experience while the Democrats on the committee grilled Nelson on his views on climate change, gay rights, his work for Melaleuca and his membership in the influential conservative legal group the Federalist Society.

“I thank the committee for joining me in voting to send Ryan’s nomination to the full Senate,” committee member U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, said in a statement after the vote. “Ryan is widely recognized by his peers for his judgment and legal acumen and will serve our nation well once he his confirmed to the Ninth Circuit. I look forward to seeing Ryan’s nomination come before the full Senate, where I will strongly advocate for his confirmation.”

Reporter Nathan Brown can be reached at 208-542-6757. Follow him on Twitter: @NateBrownNews.

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