WASHINGTON — The Senate Judiciary Committee this morning approved the nomination of Maine federal court nominee Nancy Torresen.

The unanimous, bipartisan committee voice vote clears Torresen, President Obama’s nominee for the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine, for a Senate floor confirmation vote, though it is uncertain when that will be scheduled.

Torresen, an assistant U.S. Attorney, was one of five district court nominees approved en masse in a single vote by the Judiciary Committee during a brief meeting in a small, ornate room off the Senate chamber that took place while floor debate took place over the Patriot Act extension.

Torresen would fill the seat now held by Judge D. Brock Hornby, who assumed senior status last year but continues to handle a full caseload.

Torresen would be Maine’s first female federal judge. Her husband, Jay McCloskey, is a former U.S. Attorney in Maine.

Among those who voted in favor of Torresen were several GOP senators present, including the committee’s top Republican, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa. Grassley said in an interview after the committee vote that he also intends to vote for Torresen on the Senate floor.

The votes in favor of Torresen by Grassley and several other GOP judiciary committee members present for this morning’s committee vote, including Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and John Cornyn of Texas, indicate Torresen’s confirmation shouldn’t face a problem before the full Senate.

Grassley asked several pointed questions of Torresen during her hearing before the judiciary committee earlier this month, including asking about Torresen’s three-year stint from 2006-2009 as a member of the board of directors of the Mabel Wadsworth Women’s Health Center in Bangor, which Grassley noted conducts abortions.

Grassley said at the hearing that the Wadsworth center had characterized Dr. George Tiller, a Kansas doctor who carried out late-term abortions who was shot and killed in 2009, as a hero and asked if Torresen agreed with that characterization.

Torresen responded at the hearing that the center carried out an array of women’s health services and did not conduct late-term abortions. She said she was not aware of the reference to Tiller by the Wadsworth center, adding that her views are not “squarely aligned” with the center’s views.

In her written response to Grassley, Torresen said that she could confirm that she was not involved in the planning for a vigil carried out by the health center for Tiller and did not attend the vigil, and that she was not involved in the center’s statements about Tiller.

Grassley indicated he was satisfied with how Torresen responded to his questions.

Both of Maine’s Republican senators, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, lauded Torresen at the hearing and urged her confirmation.

A Judiciary Committee spokeswoman said Torresen and the other four nominees approved today by the committee join a list of 14 nominations already awaiting a full Senate floor vote, so it’s too soon to know when Torresen’s nomination will reach the floor.