Tuesday May 10, 2011 | 08:12 PM

Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine were two of just four Republicans today to vote for the nomination of Edward Chen to the U.S. District Court in Northern California.

Chen, a U.S. Magistrate Judge in San Francisco, was confirmed 56-42, with GOP Sens. Scott Brown of Massachusetts and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska joining Snowe and Collins in defying the majority of Republicans, who contended Chen is too liberal. Chen’s nomination had languished for nearly two years until today’s vote, after being nominated by President Obama in August 2009.
Earlier this month, Snowe and Collins were part of a group of 11 Republicanswho 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. They did join other Republicans in voting against McConnell’s nomination when the final vote was held.

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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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