Thursday May 05, 2011 | 04:48 PM

The Senate Judiciary Committee was not the only place Wednesday that Maine’s Republican senators, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, took bipartisan positions on one of President Obama’s judicial nominees.

In a judiciary committee hearing, Collins and Snowe both appeared toendorse the nomination of Nancy Torresen for the U.S. District Court in the District of Maine.
On the Senate floor, Collins and Snowe were part of a group of 11 Republicans who voted to end a GOP filibuster – allowing Democrats to win the procedural motion 63-33, with three more votes than needed - and bring to a final vote the nomination of another of Obama’s federal district court nominees, John McConnell of Rhode Island.
GOP leaders tried to block McConnell’s nomination, the Associated Press reported, because of the trial lawyer’s work on legal cases against businesses, and claimed McConnell was disingenuous in his Senate confirmation hearing testimony.
The subsequent vote to confirm McConnell was 50-44, along party lines, with both Collins and Snowe voting against his nomination.
Still, the Maine senators’ decision to vote against their GOP leadership’s attempted filibuster “exemplified consistency and integrity,” says Glenn Sugameli, a staff attorney with the Washington-based Defenders of Wildlife’s Judging the Environment project on judicial nominations. Their vote to end the filibuster is an example of helping prevent  the stalling of Obama judicial nominees, even if Collins and Snowe were opposed to the nomination, Sugameli says.

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Kevin Miller is Washington bureau chief for the Portland Press Herald and MaineToday Media. He has worked as a journalist in Maine for 6 ½ years, covering the environment, politics and the State House. Before arriving in Maine, he wrote about politics, government and education for newspapers in Virginia and Maryland.
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