WASHINGTON -- Three Senate Democrats broke ranks Thursday and voted to send one of President Bush's judicial nominees to the full Senate for consideration, despite critics' questions about conflicts of interests and his views on the workplace, the disabled and the environment.
The nomination of U.S. District Judge D. Brooks Smith to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia was approved 12-7 by the Senate Judiciary Committee, sending it to the Senate.
Republicans, who voted unanimously for Smith, needed at least one Democratic vote to send the nomination to the Senate floor.
The committee has 10 Democrats and nine Republicans.
They got three: Sens. Joseph Biden of Delaware, John Edwards of North Carolina and Herb Kohl of Wisconsin.
Kohl did not comment on his vote. Edwards, who missed the vote but later got approval to be recorded as voting for Smith, said he believed Smith would not let his personal views affect his judgment.