Va. Justice Nominated to Appeals Court

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 A Virginia Supreme Court justice is President Bush's pick to fill one of several vacancies on the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, widely considered the most conservative federal appellate bench in the nation.

The White House announced Thursday that Bush had nominated G. Steven Agee to the Richmond, Va.-based appeals court, which has handled some of the country's biggest terrorism cases.

If confirmed by the Senate, Agee would fill the seat of J. Michael Luttig, who resigned in 2006.

"Justice Agee is an experienced attorney, dedicated public servant and respected judge," White House spokeswoman Emily Lawrimore said.

Bush wants the Senate to consider Agee's nomination swiftly because heavy caseloads and the duration of vacancies have created a "judicial emergency" at the 4th Circuit, she said.

Five of the 15 seats on the court are vacant. Agee was one of several people that Sens. John Warner, R-Va., and Jim Webb, D-Va., recommended to Bush after conducting a search of their own.

Confirmation of Bush's judicial nominees has caused friction between the Senate and the White House for years.

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