Story updated at 2:24 p.m. EDT, September 12
Updated at 2:24 p.m. EDT, September 12
(CNN) — Sen. Joe Biden’s pick to lead the Justice Department’s position in the United States Supreme Court had been confirmed to be solicitor general by the Senate on Thursday.
Elizabeth Prelogar, 51, the Obama administration’s nominee for the job, cleared a quick parliamentary hurdle early Thursday by winning approval of a procedural vote in the chamber (58-41).
While that vote was conducted by voice vote, Preggar appeared to be a formality to win confirmation by final confirmation because of the razor-thin margin of the vote. There are only 54 Democrats and Independents who caucus with them in the 100-member chamber. And Biden is seen as a key member of Senate leadership, ranking minority member of the Judiciary Committee.
Ahead of the procedural vote, the Obama administration released a statement from Biden welcoming the Senate to confirm Prelogar, along with Sen. Diane Feinstein, the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“Elizabeth Prelogar has earned praise from across the political spectrum, from the White House to America’s criminal defense bar, from a wide variety of respected organizations, and from my distinguished colleagues on the Judiciary Committee,” Biden said. “Elizabeth has the strong intellect, insight, and legal skill to deliver on the President’s commitment to strengthen the Justice Department’s role in defending our fundamental constitutional rights. I believe she’ll serve the Senate and the country well as solicitor general, and I’m proud to support her nomination.”
Preggar currently serves as the Justice Department’s assistant general for the Office of Legal Policy, where she works with federal prosecutors and senior officials from the federal, state, and local government to implement and enforce the legal decisions of the Department of Justice.
She also served as deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Policy from 2003 to 2008, where she worked on the preparation of dozens of legal opinions and memoranda.
From 1999 to 2003, she served as the head of the department’s Office of Legislative Affairs, where she advised the Attorney General on congressional relations, appropriations, criminal law, sentencing, intelligence collection, and military and foreign affairs issues.
Preggar also served as the associate counsel to the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. She earned her law degree from Yale Law School in 1994.
Preggar is the first minority woman nominated by a Democratic President to head the Justice Department’s legal office.
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