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Senate committee signs off on Starrett

Following Thursday’s approval by the Senate Judiciary Committee,Fourteenth District Circuit Court Judge Keith Starrett is a stepcloser to a seat on the U.S. District Court bench for southernMississippi.

However, with the Senate close to adjournment and thepresidential election in November, Starrett’s prospects of beingconfirmed remain uncertain.

“It is as far as it can be right now,” Starrett said. “Had itnot gotten through the committee today, it would have been deaduntil after the election.”

Starrett said his nomination passed the committee withoutopposition and will now be placed on the executive calender for avote by the full Senate. The judge said that could happen any timethe Senate is in session.

“There’s a lot of things happening between now and when theSenate is scheduled to adjourn at the end of next week,” Starrettsaid. “It’s a matter of whether or not they can have a floorvote.”

Starrett said he was excited about the nomination and pleasedthat it had passed the judiciary committee. He was appreciative ofSens. Thad Cochran and Trent Lott for their support and efforts toget the nomination through the Senate.

Citing the unanimous committee vote and Starrett’s outstandingjudicial rating, a spokesman for Sen. Thad Cochran’s office saidall preparation work is done and the confirmation is ready forSenate action. He said a district court judge confirmation is notas involved a Supreme Court justice hearing and Starrett’sconfirmation could be handled with other vacant positions.

“This could go very, very quickly,” the spokesman said.

Starrett has been circuit court judge for Lincoln, Pike andWalthall counties since 1992. If confirmed by the Senate, Starrettwould succeed Charles Pickering, who received a recess appointmentto the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans in January.