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President Barack Obama on Tuesday nominated U.S. District Judge David Hamilton, a moderate, to serve on a midwestern federal appeals court as the administration begins to remake the federal judiciary.


The White House said Hamilton, from Indiana, will serve on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals covering his state, Illinois and Wisconsin.

Hamilton served as counsel to Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh when he was governor. He is a federal judge in Indianapolis.

A senior administration official, who would only speak on condition of anonymity to discuss the nomination, said Indiana's Republican senator, Richard Lugar, told the White House he supports Hamilton.

The official said Obama is looking for nominees who will overcome partisan Senate acrimony of the past. Some nominees have bitterly divided the Senate, no matter which party was in the majority or controlled the White House.

The administration also is looking at candidates for any future Supreme Court vacancy, but the official described that search simply an effort to be prepared.

There are 11 U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals that cover specific regions, and the circuit for the District of Columbia. There currently are 15 vacancies, including the seat to be filled by Hamilton.

Since most cases do not reach the U.S. Supreme Court, federal appellate decisions often are the final word on legal matters that affect millions of Americans — from civil liberties and civil rights, to abortion and challenges to government actions.


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