The U.S. Senate on Thursday voted 93-0 to confirm Michael Mosman to a U.S. district court judgeship in Portland, Ore. Mosman, 46, a U.S. attorney in Oregon, had earned enthusiastic support from several Oregon judges as well as from the state's two senators, Republican Gordon Smith and Democrat Ron Wyden.
Though Thursday's vote was a breeze, Mosman's path to the bench was delayed this spring when gay rights groups raised questions about his support of privacy rights for gay people. While clerking for former Supreme Court justice Lewis F. Powell in 1986, Mosman had written legal memos urging Powell not to strike down a Georgia sodomy law by expanding privacy rights. Powell went along and was the deciding vote upholding the law. The case stood until this summer, when the high court struck down a similar statute in Texas.
Gay groups dropped their objections to Mosman in May after he met with them and Wyden, assuring them he supports equal rights. Wyden said Mosman also pledged not to let his antiabortion views affect rulings from the bench. "Mike has worked hard to show his commitment to equal rights for all Americans," Wyden said in a statement Thursday.