The vote may have been closer than he wanted, but the U.S. Senate confirmed Paul J. Watford to a judgeship on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Monday. The Senate voted 61-34 to give him the new job.
Watford, 44, was nominated on October 17, 2011, and got a passing vote from the Senate Judiciary Committee in February. But he was not part of a 14-judge deal the Democrats made with Republicans on judicial confirmations earlier this month and he was passed over briefly.
Watford takes the seat held by Judge Pamela A. Rymer, who died in September.
Despite some Republican opposition he had garnered support from important legal conservatives, including UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh and the southern California Federalist Society chapter president Jeremy Rosen.
Watford practiced appellate law with Munger, Tolles & Olson beginning in 2001.
He also clerked for Chief Judge Alex Kozinski from 1994-95 and a year later for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.