U.S. Senate confirms Miami U. grad for federal court judge seat

The Republican-controlled Senate Thursday confirmed former Ohio solicitor Eric Murphy to the federal appeals court in Cincinnati.

Murphy received his Bachelor of Arts from Miami University.

In a major victory for Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, who backed the nomination, the Senate approved Murphy’s nomination to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals by a vote of 52-to-46.

Portman voted for Murphy while Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, opposed his nomination.

Moments before the Senate voted, Brown made one final impassioned plea to lawmakers to reject Murphy’s nomination, saying Republicans want conservative federal judges to strike down consumer protections for millions of Americans covered by private insurance plans through the 2010 health law known as Obamacare.

Brown delivered his speech just as word circulated that he would not seek the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

Murphy, one-time law clerk to former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, served as state solicitor under Gov. Mike DeWine when DeWine was Ohio attorney general for six years.

He argued cases involving appeals before the Ohio Supreme Court, the 6th Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court.

But Murphy provoked fierce opposition from Brown when he filed papers in 2015 with the U.S. Supreme Court arguing that Ohio’s ban on same-sex marriage did not violate the U.S. Constitution. The justices that same year found Ohio’s law unconstitutional, by a 5-4 vote.

President Donald Trump last year nominated Murphy and Chad Readler, who was confirmed Wednesday, to replace Alice Batchelder and Deborah Cook, who are taking senior status.

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