Senate May Consider as Many

As 4 Appeals Court Nominees

After months of arguing, the Senate will try to confirm as many as four of President Bush's nominees to federal appeals courts in the next week or so, including California judge Janice Rogers Brown and former Alabama attorney general William H. Pryor Jr.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) and Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) announced agreements yesterday to move forward on those two as well as the nominations of Richard A. Griffin and David W. McKeague for the appeals court in Cincinnati.

"We should have a very positive week on judges," Frist said.

Meanwhile, Texas judge Priscilla R. Owen, the subject of a long and heated confirmation battle in the Senate, took the oath of office in Austin for her new seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.

Owen, a justice on the Texas Supreme Court for more than a decade, won Senate confirmation to the federal post last month after a four-year fight over Bush's push to place conservatives on the nation's highest courts. She became the first of Bush's long-blocked nominees to win approval under an agreement reached by centrists in the Senate.

Brown's nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit will be first, with a test vote scheduled for noon today. Frist said he expects Brown to get the support she needs in that vote, and a confirmation vote will follow.

A test vote on Pryor's candidacy for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta will follow Brown's confirmation vote, he said.

Frist and Reid also said they had agreed to move forward on Griffin and McKeague, who were approved by the Judiciary Committee just before the Senate left for its Memorial Day recess.

Lawmaker Proposes Way to End

Impasse on Bolton Nomination

A Senate Democrat has offered national intelligence officials a proposal in the dispute over obtaining classified information about John R. Bolton, President Bush's nominee to be ambassador to the United Nations.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), meanwhile, said a vote to consider Bolton's embattled nomination is not certain this week, as senators prepare instead to debate several judicial nominees.

Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.) told Director of National Intelligence John D. Negroponte that the impasse over Bolton could be broken if officials reveal whether certain people were not mentioned in classified communications that Bolton reviewed when he was the State Department's arms control chief.

Dodd offered to send Negroponte a list of names, and if none is in the classified intercepts, "the matter would be closed," he said in a letter released yesterday. Dodd's office declined to say who may be on such a list, and Negroponte's office had no comment.

The administration has refused senators access to the names of the U.S. officials mentioned in 10 communications intercepted by the National Security Agency.

-- From News Services

Priscilla R. Owen, facing camera, embraces Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.) after joining the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.