Kansan Melgren moves closer to federal judgeship

U.S. Attorney Eric Melgren of Kansas is a step closer to a spot on the federal bench -- although time is running out.

Melgren was one of 10 federal judiciary nominees approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee this morning. His name, and the other nine, will now go to the floor.

But it isn't clear if there will ever be a vote. The Senate is, of course, working on the huge mortgage bailout and may or may not take up the names.

If it doesn't, Melgren's nomination will die -- absent a lame duck session after the election. If John McCain wins, Melgren could have his name resubmitted.

It helps Melgren's case now that a Democrat -- Sen. Pat Leahy -- was willing to move Melgren's nomination: It suggests Democrats don't have a major problem with Melgren.

"I think it's all attributable to (Sen. Sam) Brownback," said Carl Tobias, a professor at the University of Richmond law school. "I think he really did make a special plea which Leahy listened to."

Brownback is a member of the Judiciary Committee, and a longtime friend of Melgren's.