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Sacramento Superior Court Judge Troy L. Nunley is an important step closer to serving on the federal bench, as he easily handled his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing Wednesday morning.

The Senate Republicans who have resisted other judicial nominees, particularly to powerful appellate courts, raised no objections to Nunley's nomination to serve as a Sacramento-based judge in the Eastern District of California. Following the usual make-no-waves confirmation script, Nunley joined four other judicial nominees Wednesday in assuring the few senators present that moderation would guide decision-making.

"Judges at all levels are required to operate fair to both sides, and issue rulings without regard to their personal beliefs," Nunley said.

Questioned by Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa about his relative lack of federal-level experience, Nunley said he had, in fact, appeared on federal matters before; besides, he said, he would do his homework.

"I am prepared to hit the ground running," Nunley said.

Now, Nunley's judicial future is a race against the Capitol Hill clock. The Senate will soon adjourn and return after the election for a lame-duck session where productivity is always a question.

Raised by a single mother in San Francisco's tough Hunters Point neighborhood, Nunley went on to graduate from St. Mary's College and the University of California Hastings College of Law. Nunley was nominated to replace Judge Garland Burrell, who is taking senior status and will carry a reduced case load. Nunley was appointed to the Sacramento County Superior Court in 2002, following service as a prosecutor and as an attorney in private practice.

"Though his background is that of a prosecutor, he has earned the respect of the criminal defense bar," said Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who recommended the nomination of Nunley.

Editor's Note: This post was updated to clarify that Judge Burrell is not retiring, but is assuming senior status with a reduced case load. Updated at 10:39 a.m. Sept. 19, 2012.


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